On June 13, a delegation of the working group on climate protection and energy of the Hamburg Metropolitan Region visited two SDH sites in Denmark. As local advisory board for the Hamburg region within the SDH project, the working group aims at paving the way for SDH projects in the region. In the Metropolitan Region with 5 million inhabitants, there are already numerous district heating networks in operation – but so far only few with renewable energies.

A group of 25 persons followed the invitation of Hamburg Institut to visit renewable district heating sites in Gram and Vojens / Denmark. The group consisted mostly of expert staff members from counties, ministries and municipalities of the region, all keen to get first-hand information on SDH plants and seasonal heat storages.In Gram they discussed with the manager of the district heating cooperative about the step by step approach of the municipality to transform its district heating system from fossil fuels to renewable energies: Starting in 2009 with a 10 000 m2 solar thermal plant, the cooperative enlarged it in 2014 by another
30 000 m2, and a 110 000 m3 heat storage. Overall, the district heating network in Gram now covers about 60% of its heat with solar energy.After lunch at the castle of Gram, Peter Eijbergen and Christian Stadler from the SDH-manufacturer Arcon-Sunmark, and the consultants Per Alex Sørensen (from PlanEnergi) and Dr. Matthias Sandrock (Hamburg Institut) discussed with the participants the experience and challenges of realising SDH projects in the German market. Technical, legal and financial barriers and solutions to overcome them were analysed – as well as the issue of public acceptance, planning and space availability in a densely populated metropolitan region.

On the way back to Hamburg, the group stopped at Vojens to visit another SDH plant – one of the largest plants in Denmark with
71 500 m2 solar thermal collectors and a seasonal heat storage of 200 000 m3.

The feedback of the participants was very positive: Impressed by the Danish projects and well informed by the SDHp2m partners, participants stated their motivation to bring equivalent projects forward in the Hamburg region.

Simona Weisleder