District heating is mainly produced by incineration of waste, although many different sources of energy can be used as fuel. In 1995, 57 per cent of the net production was produced in refuse incineration plants. Nearly 70 per cent of all fuel consumed in gross production was waste. A certain portion of the energy produced by waste or waste heat is not distributed and is lost. This percentage, however, has dropped significantly in recent years. In 1995 approx. 19 per cent of the energy was lost to cooling, while the corresponding figure in 1990 was 32 per cent. Out of the total consumption of district heating last year, about 23 per cent was distributed to households, while 34 per cent went to industry and the rest to service industries.
Consumption of district heating (heating from a central heating plant) is steadily rising in Norway. In 1995, consumption totalled 1,186 GWh, while in 1983 it was 193 GWh. The growth is attributed, among other things, to higher investments in distribution plants and better utilization of the district heating that is produced. The use of district heating is, however, still not very widespread in Norway and makes up about one per cent of the total domestic consumption of energy. Gross production last year was 1,662 GWh and increased by two per cent from the year before.
Investments in district (central) heating plants peaked in 1988 at NOK 395 million. Last year, NOK 75.6 million was invested, a substantial improvement compared to the year before. Most was invested in distribution plants. The average price of district heating in 1995 was 26.3 øre/kWh. This is an increase of 1.5 per cent from the year before and must be viewed in context with the jump in the price of oil and fuel oil from 1994 to 1995, and that the pricing of district heating must take into account the market price of competing forms of energy.
District heating is viewed as having a beneficial effect on the environment as it produces far less emissions than for example oil heating. By switching from oil heating to district heating it is possible to achieve a substantial reduction in emission levels. In addition, resources are used that otherwise would have gone to waste, when waste heat from industry and waste are used as fuel to produce heat. Many district heating plants use supplementary oil and/or electric boilers as needed. Last year electricity replaced oil in the boilers because spot prices for surplus power were relatively low.
About the statistics
District heating is steam or hot water that is transported through insulated pipes to households and other consumers, and is used for heating and as hot tap water. The heat is produced by waste incineration, or by using sewage, wood chips, coal, coke, oil, electricity or waste heat/waste gas from industry.
Weekly Bulletin issue no. 50, 1996