The Wärmewende ("decarbonisation of the heating supplyt") is a major part of Germany's energy transformation. In the context of the Wärmewende, regenerative-based supply approaches are mostly locally based. However, they need to cover very heterogeneous demand profiles. In the future, it will be necessary to use all locally available energy sources in order to become largely independent from fossil fuels. Many of these sources rely on infrastructures of district heating. These offer the systemic advantage of a spatial and temporal balance of heat sources and heat demand.
District heating is already an important component of the German energy supply system. It contributes to a secure and affordable heat supply, especially in municipalities. District heating can be an important link for the integration of renewable energy sources into the heat supply and facilitate the use of energy-efficient combined heat and power (CHP) and waste heat. Thus, industrial and industrial waste heat sources can only be meaningfully developed through the infrastructure of a wired heat supply.
In addition, the use of the (cost) potential of large-scale solar thermal plants and geothermal potentials is favored. Heating grids are therefore particularly suitable for implementing the energy transition in the heating sector, especially in densely populated areas. Municipalities can thus increase their security of supply and at the same time preserve the added value locally.
In order for the potential of heating grids to be better used in the future, they must not only become more efficient and use more renewable energy sources. It is also necessary to transform existing societal structures, which can only succeed with a sufficient degree of participatory processes at the local level.