Holistic planning for cities

Overview of the status and impact of the innovation



Half of the energy consumed in cities is for heating and cooling. As this report describes, electrified solutions can bring about significant reductions in consumption, although implementing such solutions requires co-operation at the planning level among all stakeholders from power system operators as well as the heating and cooling sectors, including grid operators, private companies, the public sector, end users, research institutions and regulators. Co-operation is especially critical for capital-intensive infrastructure such as district heating networks and large heat pumps. Policy makers at the national or regional levels would do well to establish long-term climate action plans backed by local authorities to facilitate investments and to provide incentives such as grants to help households connect to existing networks. In addition, industries near urban areas can play a role by providing surplus heat via thermal networks. Meanwhile, local authorities are key for planning and constructing district heating systems, leveraging possible synergies with other urban infrastructure, and facilitating co-ordination between district heating system operators and other stakeholders, such as real estate developers.


Holistic planning of heating and cooling can vastly reduce the investments needed for their electrification. Identifying synergies between different temperature streams and reservoirs (such as wastewater, industrial waste heat or eco districts) will maximise efficiency, as will optimising the use of shared storage facilities that are charged or discharged by different types of users.

Power to heat and cooling innovations

Innovations (35)