Open District Heating in Stockholm, Sweden

Location: Stockholm, Sweden

Population: 2,402,609 (metropolitan area)

Climate: Oceanic

Duration: 2014 – N/A

Sector: District heating and/or cooling

Funding sources: Public – private (Stockholm Exergi is owned equally by Fortum and Stockholm Municipality)

City networks: C40


Savings: N/A

Solutions: Over 30 data centres in Stockholm and supermarkets and other companies with excess heat are served by Open District Heating.

Multiple benefits: Re-use excess heat from businesses.

Open District Heating is a one-of-a-kind offering for data centres, supermarkets, and other enterprises with extra heat that want to sell it on the open market. Over 30 data centres in Stockholm are now connected to district heating and cooling networks.


Objective – The goal is to make heating and cooling plants more efficient by allowing energy transfers from companies with excess heat to the local district heating network.

Solutions –Since its inception in 2014, Open District Heating (ODH) has seen an increase in the number of excess heat producers linked to the system. A district cooling network is also integrated, allowing for the provision of both heating and cooling.

Stockholm Exergi invests in pipe installation and connection to the district heating network, while suppliers invest in the requisite manufacturing facilities. Typically, establishing the appropriate technical infrastructure takes between six and nine months (source).

Stockholm Exergi’s district heating network comprises around 2,800 kilometres of pipes beneath Stockholm’s streets. Furthermore, their world-class district cooling network is comprised of about 300 kilometres of piping. These distribution systems allow energy to be transferred from regions with extra energy to locations where energy is required. It now delivers over 90% of the district heating in greater Stockholm (source).

Open District Heating functioning: Companies and enterprises with excess heat near heating or cooling networks can sell energy to Stockholm Exergi at market pricing, allowing them to use energy that would otherwise go to waste (source).

The approach not only improves overall energy efficiency, but also generates economic benefits for businesses through sustainable urban heat recovery solutions. The district heating supplier Stockholm Exergi in Stockholm operates and manages it.

Funding – Stockholm Exergi has invested a total of € 0.26M in the district heating and cooling network expansion.

Innovation – The ODH is a heat recovery model that is standardized, transparent, and large-scale, and it is available to all actors (source). Stockholm Exergi, in collaboration with ODH, is at the forefront of the development of sustainable heat recovery. Customers contribute to this progress while also converting their cooling costs into a revenue stream through heat recovery.

Success factors – 1) Turn excess heat into a source of revenue. Stockholm Exergi pays for supplied heat capacity depending on the cost of producing the comparable heat in their facilities. Payments are determined by the ambient temperature. 2) ODH Call. Suppliers and Stockholm Exergi agree on capacity levels to be delivered to the district heating network through ODH Call. 3) ODH Spot. Suppliers determine when to deliver heat depending on their own conditions using ODH Spot, and no particular capacity requests are made. (source).


Significant outcomes

  • ODH is heating more than 25,000 apartments with excess heat.

 Synergies with local policies:

  • Strategy for a fossil-fuel-free Stockholm by 2040 has set a 2020 goal of 2.3 tonnes CO2e (carbon dioxide equivalents) per inhabitant. But to reach a fossil-fuel-free Stockholm by 2040, we must accelerate our efforts to cut emissions. How district heating is produced affects the city’s capacity to meet its short- and long-term climate goals.

 Political alignment:

  • The District Heating Act. It was launched in 2008, focusing on transparency, rejecting unbundling, third-party access, and pricing regulation. This soft transparency regulation required the Swedish Energy Markets Inspectorate to disclose annual balance sheets and profit and loss statements for all Swedish district heating operations;
  • National Energy Efficiency Action Plan sets a target of energy consumption reduction by a further 20% by 2030 (2005 baseline). The Plan also focuses on efficient district heating and cooling;
  • Sweden’s Integrated National Energy and Climate Plan tackle the EU Energy Union’s five dimensions, including energy efficiency, with an emphasis on the current potential for high-efficiency cogeneration and efficient district heating and cooling.

 Marketability: N/A

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Sector: District energy

Country / Region: Sweden

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In 1 user collection: Good practices of cities

Knowledge Object: User generated Initiative

Published by: Celsius