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DIN Forsyning holds ground-breaking ceremony for hybrid renewable heat plant

In Denmark, DIN Forsyning, the municipal district heat, and water provider for the city of Esbjerg held a ground-breaking ceremony in the Port of Esbjerg marking the start of development for a new hybrid renewable district heat plant to replace heat currently supplied by Ørsted's Esbjerg coal-fired combined heat and power (CHP) plant that will be decommissioned in April 2023.

A ground-breaking ceremony in the Port of Esbjerg, Denmark was held on October 23, 2020, with Anders Linde (left) Chairman of the Board DIN Forsyning and Jesper Frost Rasmussen, Mayor of Esbjerg marking the start of construction for a new hybrid renewable heat plant that will replace heat currently supplied by Ørsted’s coal-fired combined heat and power (CHP) plant with its iconic flue stack that will be decommissioned in April 2023 (photo courtesy DIN Forsyning).

About half of all district heating for Esbjerg comes from Ørsted’s CHP plant, whose iconic flue stack at commissioning in 1992 was Denmark’s tallest structure. DIN Forsyning itself produces about 5 percent of the heat supply whereas the Energnist waste-to-energy (WtE) plant supplies around 45 percent.

To be decommissioned on April 1, 2023, as part of Ørsted’s coal phase plans, DIN Forsyning must be ready with alternative heat sources for the district heating. However, instead of investing in one large heating unit, the choice has fallen on a sustainable network of smaller heat sources, along with Denmark’s largest seawater heat pump and a biomass plant as the two cornerstones.

When Ørsted announced their ambitious plan to phase out coal by 2023, we decided to think as green and sustainable as possible. Because we have to have an alternative to Ørsted ready before they close, we are also building a woodchip-fired heat plant to ensure the security of supply. Our primary heat source will be the waste incineration plant, but it is not enough to ensure heat for all our customers in the winter, said Anders Linde, Chairman of the Board at DIN Forsyning.

Esbjerg to be sustainable by 2030

District heating is an important part of the city’s ambition to become a carbon dioxide (CO2) neutral municipality by 2030. Estimated to require about DKK 1.2 billion (≈ EUR 161.23 million), the hybrid renewable heat plant will consist of a 50 MW seawater heat pump, a 60 MW woodchip-fired boiler, a distribution center, a transformer station, and offices.

Esbjerg is really taking the lead in district heating with today’s groundbreaking. As the first large city, we are securing the district heating of the future via innovation. This solution will resonate both in Denmark and the rest of the world, and the interest will bring many visitors to the upcoming facility. It is a revolutionary offer for tomorrow’s district heating solution, which is based on new green solutions such as seawater heat pumps and electric boilers, and where there is also the opportunity to integrate new technologies as they mature, said Esbjerg City Mayor Jesper Frost Rasmussen.

For DIN Forsyning, the ground-breaking marks the first step in a long-term plan to make district heating CO2-neutral by 2030. Apart from Ørsted, there are other fossil energy sources – DIN Forsyning’s own oil and gas-fired heat production. These are to be phased out as soon as possible.

We need to find sustainable alternatives such as surplus heat from local companies. We must follow the technological development that is happening and choose the best solutions so that in 10 years we can have to reach a CO2-neutral district heating production. We need to move away from using oil and gas, but what the alternatives are, I cannot say. We must develop this together with local companies so that together we can support the municipality’s ambitions, ended Anders Linde.

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