Customer solutions and business models
In the first seminar Anders Holmsten, business area manager, energy services, Gävle Energi AB presented one of the company's customer solutions for district heating sub centrals. More than 500 dwellings are connected to the system, which is also integrated with a measurement system for indoor temperature. The large number of connected dwellings and the opportunities of integrating a control system for management of the heat supply to the dwellings are unique, and Gävle Energi AB expects great opportunities with this type of customer solution.
The seminar addressed that new business models are required in order to adapted to the conditions of a future energy system, for instance business models presenting and selling complete solutions to the customer. Moreover, analyzing possible opportunities in new solutions are as important as analyzing potential risks. However, it is important that new solutions are adapted to local conditions. This also applies in gathering information and new ideas from other countries and contexts; new solutions need to be adapted to Swedish conditions, systems and culture.
Flexible response to demand and digitalization
The second seminar discussed different perspectives on digitalization in relation to the district heating sector and the surrounding energy system. Ebba Löfblad, analyst, Profu, presented the current state on the topic together with how digitalization can contribute in future thermal energy systems. Even though digitization in this area is still relatively unexplored, the discussions brought up digitalization’s possible roles in the development of future thermal energy systems. For instance, future energy systems require flexibility and new solutions. In relation to the adaption to such conditions, what are the opportunities by an increased digitalization, and what limitations exist? A few examples from how digitalization has been applied in other countries were presented.
The seminar also addressed the need to adapt energy services to increased digitization and that the role of energy companies may change in a digitalized future. At the same time, digitalization must be integrated in a way that customers understand and considerations on possible risks of increased digitization in the district heating area are important. Security, integrity and vulnerability are aspects that need to be analyzed and communicated.
In the third seminar the latest policy updates with implications on the district heating and cooling sector and related areas were presented by Erik Dotzauer, expert on policy instruments, Stockholm Exergi AB. Moreover, the seminar considered the current policy instruments that affect today's district heating sector and the policy instruments’ implications on the development of the future thermal system. One challenge discussed was how to design policy instruments that meet new conditions in the future energy system and at the same time fulfill set goals.
In summary, there are some changes underway in the next few years in this area. Some of the issues raised due to these policy updates were addressed in the discussions during the seminar. For instance, aspects on how the new waste incineration tax will affect environmental factors, but also how it will affect the district heating companies, their customers and other related actors. Further news in respect to the policy instruments affecting the Swedish district heating sector is the new trading period for the EU ETS, the system for electricity certificate, the revision of the Energy Efficiency Directive, new building regulations and the certification of buildings. One problem raised was that the new building regulations may lead to increased use of electricity for heating. At the same time, there is a high demand on the electricity grid in several regions in Sweden.