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MODULE 10.4: District Energy in Cities


Expanding on the Recommended Steps


Local Governments as Planner and Regulator

  • Create energy policy objectives, a strategy and targets

    • Given the many competing interests in a city, an energy strategy that explicitly addresses the heating/cooling sector and that outlines the potential role and benefits of district energy in the context of broader social, environmental and economic drivers is critical.
    • Undertake a holistic study of municipal energy use and needs
    • Develop a realistic target or goal based on the current use and needs of your municipality, your timeframe and sustainability goals
    • ensure that your targets are measurable to track progress

  • Energy Mapping, such as of a city's local heat or cooling demand, in order to understand energy use, infrastructure, emissions and available resources

    • Tools are available to make this process easier. See the Peta4 Tool or THERMOS, for example.
    • Learn more about how THERMOS can help develop district energy in level 2 of this module.

  • Create policies that allow, encourage or require disctrict energy developments


Local Governments as Facilitator

  • Offer financing and fiscal incentives

    • debt provision and bond financing, loan security and underwriting, city-financed revolving funds
    • grants, low-cost financing/loans, rebates, subsidies
    • tax credits and exemptions within tax systems; for example, sales, property taxes, permitting fees and carbon taxes

  • Make use of city assets

    • use of local government land/property/buildings for district energy installations or connections, or for anchor loads (leasing/selling/permitting)

  • Create projects that can be used for demonstration purposes

    • piloting and testing emerging technologies, such as low-grade waste-heat recovery from sewage or metro, and renewable energy integration and storage
    • piloting new policies for district energy systems


Local Government as Provider and Consumer

  • Regulate city-owned or operated utilities and waste-heat tariffs

    • utility mandates and incentives
    • interconnection policies and incentives
    • waste-heat tariff regulation and customer protection policies
    • investment in, or partnership with, other utilities

  • Procurement, purchasing and investment

    • investment in district energy for government buildings
    • purchase or joint purchase of district heating/cooling or power (cogeneration) with other cities
    • green public procurement


Local Government as a Coordniator and Advocate

  • Market facilitation and capacity-building

    • Create a dedicated city unit or coordination mechanism to facilitate the development of bankable projects through capacity-building, trainings, project structuring, multi-stakeholder engagement

  • Awareness-raising and outreach

    • Outreach through public media and education
    • Campaigns
    • Awards
    • Community events
    • Website
    • Publications
    • Geospacial energy, infrastructure and emissions mapping
    • Information centers

  • Advocating for district energy at other levels of government

    • Promotion of district energy systems in state- and federal-level policy and regulatory processes
    • Lobbying of higher levels of government for supporting policies and funding commitments, including grants and taxation policies


Note: Information presented on this page was based on the UNEP's District Energy in Cities publication and ICLEI experience on district energy planning processes





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