Policy frameworks for district heating: A comprehensive overview and analysis of regulations and support measures across Europe

  • Anna Billerbeck
  • Barbara Breitschopf
  • Jenny Winkler
  • Alexandre Bacquet
  • Eftim Popovski
  • Mostafa Fallahnejad
  • Lukas Kranzl
  • M. Ragwitz

This paper presents an overview of policy frameworks for district heating (DH) in Europe. We develop a classification for policy aspects addressing DH, comprising regulation of ownership, prices, metering, consumer grid connection, third party access as well as support schemes and carbon taxes. This classification builds on existing literature and expert assessments collected in an online survey and interviews. The relevance of the paper lies in giving a comprehensive picture of the existing policy frameworks for DH in 23 European countries. For the overview, the countries are clustered along assigned categories. It is shown that the policy frameworks for DH can be clustered into five distinguishable groups. While some countries apply very strict regulations in special DH laws, others rely on less regulatory intervention, both with varying degrees of support for DH in place. The different policy frameworks are discussed in the context of the diffusion of DH and the integration of renewable and waste heat in DH. This analysis shows that high shares of DH and high shares of renewable and waste heat in DH can be observed in countries with a high degree of regulation as well as in countries with less regulatory intervention in DH markets.