The potential for district heating and cooling to radically shift the climate goal agenda cannot be underestimated. Better, smarter city environments are a priority across Europe and around the world where domestic, commercial, and industry environments are being reimagined to provide cleaner and more efficient heating and cooling.

Sweden’s district heating sector has set an industry benchmark with 90 per cent market share for heating multiple dwelling buildings, the world’s largest share of heat pumps for heating detached houses, and district cooling networks already established in all major cities in Sweden. Fossil fuels have almost been entirely phased out of the Swedish heating and cooling market.

This expertise and knowledge are now in high demand, particularly in the UK and France, where policy and investment are both drivers and inhibitors.

A sector ready to boom in the UK

Led by an ambitious government plan, the UK objectives for carbon emission reduction includes a scale up of the existing installation of heat pumps from 37,000 in 2020 to 600,000 a year by 2028. Roughly 20 per cent of UK heat will need to come from heat networks. Investment in heat pumps and technology is needed for the UK to reach carbon reduction targets by 2035; this would mean that roughly 20 per cent of UK heat will need to come from heat networks.

A combination of financial initiatives including the Renewable Heat Incentive, Green Homes Grant, Social Housing Decarbonisation Fund, and Clean Heat Grants have been introduced, operating at both a national and local level, to support energy efficiency and low carbon heating projects for domestic dwellings.

Large scale projects in Plymouth, Liverpool, and Cambridgeshire need solutions that will help deliver a 5th generation heat network with heating and cooling provided by pumps, a new facility that will use water source heat pumps and thermal stores, and a heat network that will combine a ground source heat pump and an air source heat pump powered by solar panels.

While there are substantial opportunities in the UK market, there are also challenges which Business Sweden can help Swedish companies overcome, including guidance on establishing a local presence, developing and offering standardised solutions, and investing in capability development.

France’s transition to renewable energies a growth hot spot

With national policies and incentives aligning with market forces, there are opportunities to contribute to projects that are aimed at developing a district heating and cooling segment powered by renewables. Large-scale opportunities are emerging to upgrade heating and cooling in both the residential and commercial sectors. The government’s two main policies for renewable energy, RE202 and Multiannual Energy Programming, are a catalyst and Sweden is able to provide solutions that will fulfil the goals of the projects, but also bring together stakeholders in the district energy sector.

Financial funds and incentives are wide-ranging and are aimed at communities, institutions, and companies to contribute to the transition to renewable heating and cooling solutions as well as incentivising residential buildings, service, transport, industry, agriculture and networks, and regional and local authorities to invest in sustainable district energy.

The growing demand for cooling solutions in France’s residential, office, and industrial spaces is also accelerating technology and infrastructure. In Metz, Greater Paris, and Marseille, there are projects aimed at suppling heating and cooling for commercial spaces, creating an eco-neighbourhood with shops and schools with a heat pump network, and using geothermal energy to supply district cooling and heating.

France’s unique challenges have been mapped by Business Sweden and a roadmap for success has been developed to help Swedish companies navigate stakeholder engagement and market entry and expansion.

A collaborative network a driver for growth

The expertise within the Swedish heating and cooling ecosystem has boundless potential to expand into markets both in Europe and in markets in the Middle East. To facilitate growth, Sustainable Heating & Cooling by Sweden programme was launched, owned and financed by the Swedish Energy Agency (Energimyndigheten) and implemented by Business Sweden. The programme currently has over 40 Swedish member companies from across the entire ecosystem.

Membership of the programme continues to help Swedish companies, and also accelerate the green transition, with 70 per cent of participating companies stating that the SHC has accelerated their internationalisation and export to the UK.

The programme’s main aim is to disseminate and internationalise Swedish competence and promote export of Swedish companies’ solutions and services to markets with highest business potential; and strengthen the Swedish sustainable heating and cooling industry through internationalisation and contribute to sustainable urban development.

To read more about the programme and become a member, click here.