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Linking Heat and Electricity Systems

Linking heat and electricity systems cover‌Co-generation technologies and efficient DHC networks offer significant environmental and energy security benefits, and can serve as flexible tools to bridge electrical and thermal energy systems. Yet despite these advantages, and successful implementation in some countries, to date, global deployment has been limited. This publication examines some of the reasons behind the slow progress, including local energy market conditions failing to ensure energy prices that reflect generation costs, lack of long-term visibility of energy policy and poor strategic planning for heating and cooling infrastructure.

The report uses three case studies where co-generation has been successfully deployed in industrial applications, and three case studies of efficient DHC systems to inform this analysis. These real-life examples demonstrate that long-term stability of energy efficiency rewarding policy strategy is one of the most important levers to unlock cost-effective deployment potential of these technologies. They also show that technical challenges posed by innovative and highly integrated DHC systems can be solved through cooperative effort, experience sharing and support to demonstrate pioneer networks.

Based on this analysis, the report provides policy recommendations intended to help policymakers better understand the drivers of deployment of co-generation and DHC systems, and overcome policy and market barriers to increased cost-effective penetration of these efficient energy options.

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