Utilitas: high-scale investments are what brought us the Efficient District Heating label

At the annual conference of the Estonian Power Plants and District Heating Association, all district heating systems of the Utilitas energy group were recognised with the Efficient District Heating label. ‘Utilitas has made high-level investments to make a transition to renewable fuels and establish combined heat and power stations, but also to fuel buildings using waste heat from electricity producing and increase the efficiency of heat transferring,’ said Andrus Pirso, Managing Director of the Estonian Power Plants and District Heating Association, when attributing the recognition.

‘The purpose of attributing this label is to recognise and motivate the usage of renewable energy in district heating networks, to efficiently produce and distribute heat, and to recognise district heating as a way of providing thermal energy in an efficient, environment-friendly, reasonably priced, and convenient manner. Modern district heating is the safest and most environment-friendly source of thermal energy in densely populated areas,’ Pirso explained.

‘In the interest of an environmentally sound energy producing, we are developing the production processes and applying modern technologies. As a result of the investments that Utilitas has made in the past years, most of the thermal energy produced for our clients in all our district heating areas is produced of local renewable fuels or by using the residual heat from the cogeneration process,’ explained Priit Koit, CEO of the Utilitas group. ‘Last year, we opened our second cogeneration plant and we have installed flue gas condensers into our production units that are enabling us to use all of the energy from fuels efficiently,’ he explained. ‘Wider usage of efficient district heating, that is based on renewable sources, is compliant with the energy policies of the European Union and Estonia and it is believed to have a huge impact on reaching the energy independence and climate policy goals,’ he accentuated. ‘Our actions for improving our living environment are fruitful in a successful cooperation with clients. District heating consumers are continually becoming more aware of the climate problems and they appreciate when a building’s energy consumption has a CO2 footprint that is as little as possible, and district heating plays a significant role in constraining that footprint,’ Koit noted.

Pirso says that Estonian district heating systems are significantly more developed than the European average, and Estonia along with the Nordic Countries sets an important standard in that field. Yesterday, the first 14 companies and 41 district heating systems across Estonia were recognised with the Efficient District Heating label, which, in accordance with the Energy Efficiency Directive (2012/27/EU), are efficient district heating systems that produce heat of at least 50% renewable energy, 50% waste heat, 75% cogenerated heat, or 50% of a combination of such energy and heat.

‘Now we must unitedly thrive for even bigger goals,’ Pirso added. ‘By 2030, 80% of heat consumed in Estonia and 50% of electricity must be produced from renewable energy sources, and it would be reasonable to discuss the developments related to district heating systems cooperatively – by including district heating companies, local governments and consumers,’ he explained.

Yesterday, at the annual conference of the Estonian Power Plants and District Heating Association, titled Efficient district heating and cooling – the cornerstone of environmentally friendly energy in the city, the district heating experts of Estonia and Europe discussed the future of energy economy and the importance of district heating.