VALOR has conducted a study of large heat pumps in district heating systems in Finland for Finnish Energy (Energiateollisuus ry, an organisation for the industrial and labour market policy of the energy sector in Finland).

The study investigated the potential of heat pumps as part of district heating systems i.e. as a production form in the district heating chain. The purpose of the study was to provide information on potential, barriers and best practices regarding the utilization of heat pumps as part of district heating systems. The study was limited to “large-scale” heat pumps, which have a significant role in the heat production (at least 1-3 MW) and feed heat directly into the district heating metwork.   

The aggregate utilization potential of large-scale heat pumps in Finland is evaluated to be 3-4 TWh or 9-13 % of the annual consumption of district heating in Finland. The current production of district heating with heat pumps is approximately 0,6 TWh, which is less than 2 % of total district heating consumption. Large heat pumps have several benefits as part of a district heating system. They increase the flexibility of the district heating system and heat production, as they enable taking advantage of the volatility of the electricity market (with thermal batteries). On the other hand, combined heat and power with district heating enables better utilization of surplus heat production from community wastewater, industrial processes etc. Electric heat pumps can also help energy generation capacity to operate at optimum load using smart grids.

 Find the report below (the full version in Finnish: “Suuret lämpöpumput kaukolämpöjärjestelmässä” and a summary in English: