In order to facilitate development of sustainable district heating, and discuss potential development scenarios and needed policies, a national RES H/C conference was organized on 12 May 2016 in Riga, Latvia. More than 100 participants attended, representing the biggest energy utility companies, representatives from ministries, parliament, municipalities, energy agencies, NGOs, universities and associations.
The conference has been divided into several parts, starting with plenary sessions and presentation from Ministry of Environmental Protection and Regional Development, The European Commission Representation in Latvia, Ministry of Economics, Latvian association of local and regional government, Latvian Association of district heating companies and Ekodoma. After that participants have spited in three parallel sessions were three interlinked question have been discussed. First parallel session was dedicated to question on future of district heating systems, second parallel session was discussing energy performance contracting and third energy planning issues in municipalities. After discussions in parallel session, second plenary sessions in form of discussion was organized. In the plenary representatives from Riga Technical University, Latvian Association of Heat Enterprises, Daugavpils city Council, Salaspils municipality, ESCO company and member of the Parliament were reflecting on main conclusions from parallel sessions and discussing main challenges associated with development of sustainable district heating. Conference was finished with networking activities.
In Latvia district heating is widely used and overall district heating presents potential to utilize low quality energy sources, integrate flexible renewable resources, improve air quality, improve overall system efficiency and possibilities to use excess electricity produced from renewable. To utilize those all different possibilities district heating system should be developed and investments planned in advance. But taking into account that residential sector is the main energy consumer and majority of the Latvian building stock needs to be renovated it is possible that energy demand for heating will drop dramatically. When heating sales are dropping development of new services like energy efficiency service are extremely important. Participants have discussed about new methods for determination of inefficient costs and motivational tools for raising energy efficiency. There is still potential for fuel switch projects and use of RES like biomass, solar or geothermal energy.
It was agreed that in longer perspective district heating companies should develop 4th generation district heating technologies and systems, increase flexibility to permit utilization surplus heat.