Community-owned district heating and cooling

Overview of the status and impact of the innovation



DHC networks can be owned by communities in addition to the usual utility ownership model.


Creating new community-owned or hybrid private-public DHC networks can accelerate the scale-up of district energy systems because these models allow all stakeholders to be more involved in building and managing DHC infrastructure. These new business models can make heating or cooling more affordable, reduce greenhouse gas emissions, speed up project development and provide more transparent connection costs and energy tariffs.

BOX 6.20 Community-owned district heating utility in Denmark

The district heating utility Jaegerspris Kraftvarme in Denmark is 100% owned by consumers and organised as a private co-operative. As the only shareholders, consumers are involved in all major investment and strategic decisions. The investment costs are financed with long-term debt, with a municipal guarantee, and are recovered through heat sales. All profits are passed to consumers in the form of lower tariffs, following the not-for-profit principle in Denmark’s Heat Supply Act, and tariffs are increased to cover deficits if any. The goal of this business model is to deliver services to consumers at the lowest price (European Commission Joint Research Centre, 2021).

Power to heat and cooling innovations

Innovations (35)