Posted on Monday, March 30, 2020 by Steen Schelle Jensen
2020 has long been a sort of lighthouse within energy policy. The EU’s ambitious ‘20-20-20’ targets were set with this very deadline – and now we’re here. Goals for 2030 and 2050 are already underway, but let’s use the beginning of a new decade to imagine what we will be looking back on 10 years from now. Which defining developments in district heating will 2020 be remembered for?
1) Defining legislative leapsIn recent years, legislation and regulation have evolved radically as sustainability and empowerment of consumers have become key focus points. One direct result is that in 10 years, we will look back at 2020 as the year when the demand for remote reading of heat meters became effective with the revised EU Energy Efficiency Directive (EED). Another piece of legislation – specifically for Sweden – impacting 2020, is the requirement for individual metering and billing in flerbostadshuse with energy consumption exceeding 200 kWh/m2. This originated from the EED and took effect on December 1st, 2019.
What these two examples have in common is that they also represent a huge value-creation potential for district heating utilities, building owners and end users. But you need the right tools to turn your data into knowledge you can act on – which brings us to our second prediction.
2) Full value from meter dataMost Swedish utilities have already come a long way with remote meter reading, but many have yet to unfold the full value of the data they collect. In 2030, when looking back at 2020, we believe this will have been the year where that changed thanks to the digital solutions available that allow data-driven optimisation of a utility’s entire value chain.
Tools like Kamstrup’s Heat Intelligence, which combines smart meter data with facts about the pipes in the distribution network, create the transparency you need – both before and after your point of delivery. This enables you to lower forward and return temperatures, reduce network losses, improve asset management as well as integrate more waste heat and renewables. In this way, you can optimise your core tasks of producing and distributing heat and perhaps even explore new business opportunities. And this handily taps into our final prophecy.
3) A redefined role for suppliersThe ever-increasing complexity of a utility’s reality is unlikely to have changed by 2030. But we see that 2020 may be the year, where more and more utility professionals dedicate their efforts to doing what they do best and leave the rest to their suppliers. This could range from hosting of your metering system to full operation including data collection and IT infrastructure compliance – or anything in between depending on your needs.
Time will tell if our predictions prove to be correct in 2030, but considering the development of the district heating industry over the last decade, it is difficult not be optimistic about the time until then.
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