Sino-Danish Clean Heating Expert Panel Workshop 3: Heat Roadmap process for China

On Wednesday, 12th October 2022, the Sino-Danish Clean Heating Expert Panel met online for its third workshop. The Danish Energy Agency, China Renewable Energy Engineering Institute, experts from Denmark, China and international experts gathered online and had a dynamic discussions on the Heat roadmap process for China.

The discussion is based on the following questions:

  • What should be the main drivers when making a heat roadmap in China? (Carbon neutrality, energy efficiency, energy security, renewable energy, clean air etc.)
  • In this regard, what are the main indicators that should be analyzed in the different scenarios? (CO2 emissions, heat production costs, energy intensity, air pollutants, energy imports etc.).
  • What should be the main focal points for developing future scenarios? (Technologies, policies, national climate targets etc.)
  • Are there any additional data sets that you think we should know about?
  • Which primary or secondary stakeholders could have an interest in a heat roadmap? What are the key criteria for selecting Chinese authorities that could benefit from knowing more about the heat roadmap methodology?

Main drivers

According to the experts the main drivers should be carbon peaking and carbon neutrality goals, i.e. the 2030 and 2060 goals. Energy security is important but it is not a big enough issue that it should be a main driver. Heat production cost is also critical. Energy efficiency is important as well. Finally, economic growth and social development need to be considered before developing a heat roadmap.

Future scenarios

Policy driven options are quite important. However, developers often look at costs and not necessarily at broad national targets, as they are too broad, too national. Costs at project level are maybe more important to consider than national targets.

Carbon trading – it may be relevant in terms of the costs being the most important – if CO2 emissions can be traded, would be possible to get funding to off-set the price of renewable energy heating. Furthermore, district heating systems could enter the carbon trading market that could set the price for renewable district heating.


According to the experts, research work to collect more data at the city/local level has been conducted:

  • China building energy efficiency yearbook (coming at the end of this year), 2023 edition will have a focus on heating.
  • District heating potentials, dataset from CDHA which focuses on excess heat + waste heat from waste incineration, data center and electricity transformers, as well as, the heat to be transported through long distance. More work also on Southern part of China (work still ongoing) with MoHURD.
  • The Foundation for heat planning (CDHA), conduct surveys every year on production and transmission. China Heating Development Report 2021 includes three years of data on heating which is open to the public and CDHA can provide this data.

Target audience for the roadmap?

NDRC and MoHURD are the primary target audience, also local governments need to be involved, since they are responsible for heat planning. Additionally, the local utilities and the manufacturers etc.

Other points to be considered:

  • Regarding the geographical scope of the heat road map, according to the experts, it should be provincial levels but even that is large, so, perhaps it should be city wide like Beijing as a case. Also indicated to consider different approaches for selected areas/provinces. Different regions, different scales, and different technologies.
  • Cooling is overlooked, both in policy and in the China Outlook. Cooling demand is huge and increasing and there can be synergy with both hot water and district heating.
  • When electrifying heating, also want to emphasize the importance of demand response, when have electric heat pump heating and cooling. Not just energy reduction, but also how shifting power grid peak demand and leverage the use of virtual power plant to achieve better CO2 emission reduction.


  • Traditional district heating in the north of China is a major model and accounts for a large proportion within the national heating sector, which is mainly powered by coal-fired boilers/CHP etc. This part could be challenging for China to decarbonize the heating sector.
  • One thing is that even though green technology is available, the feasibility might not be known. China is such a big country that there won’t be one solution for all.

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Sector: District energy

Country / Region: China, Denmark

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In 1 user collection: Sino-Danish Clean and Renewable Heating Cooperation Centre – Events

Knowledge Object: User generated Initiative

Publishing year: 2022