Effect of heat demand on integration of urban large-scale renewable schemes-case of Helsinki City (60 °n)

Vahid Arabzadeh*, Peter D. Lund

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)
16 Downloads (Pure)


Heat demand dominates the final energy use in northern cities. This study examines how changes in heat demand may affect solutions for zero-emission energy systems, energy system flexibility with variable renewable electricity production, and the use of existing energy systems for deep decarbonization. Helsinki city (60 °N) in the year 2050 is used as a case for the analysis. The future district heating demand is estimated considering activity-driven factors such as population increase, raising the ambient temperature, and building energy efficiency improvements. The effect of the heat demand on energy system transition is investigated through two scenarios. The BIO-GAS scenario employs emission-free gas technologies, bio-boilers and heat pumps. The WIND scenario is based on large-scale wind power with power-to-heat conversion, heat pumps, and bio-boilers. The BIO-GAS scenario combined with a low heat demand profile (-12% from 2018 level) yields 16% lower yearly costs compared to a business-as-usual higher heat demand. In the WIND-scenario, improving the lower heat demand in 2050 could save the annual system 6-13% in terms of cost, depending on the scale of wind power.

Original languageEnglish
Article number2164
Pages (from-to)1-17
Number of pages17
Issue number9
Publication statusPublished - 1 May 2020
MoE publication typeA1 Journal article-refereed


  • Decarbonizing pathways
  • District heating system
  • Energy system flexibility
  • System dynamics modelling

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