District heating in Espoo is quickly becoming cleaner. The last coal-fired unit will be decommissioned by 2025, and production will become carbon-neutral already during this decade. The change in the approach is huge: instead of centralised, combustion-based energy production, the transition will be made to decentralised and electrified district heating.
Steering heat from multiple sources to buildings in a controlled manner requires new kinds of digital solutions. Weather forecasting plays a significant role in this, because weather is the biggest single factor affecting the demand for heat.
Artificial intelligence controls the decentralised system
The new generation of district heating is based on replacing fossil energy sources with smart and flexible solutions that utilise, e.g., waste heat from various sources, renewable electricity, geothermal energy and bioenergy.
A district heating system that is based on decentralised production will be controlled by artificial intelligence, optimising the entire system with great precision: heat will be produced from different sources based on demand and delivered to customers in the amount needed and when it’s needed. The behaviour of the heat-carrying water in the network will be taken into account at the same time. This requires a deep understanding of the heat needs in the different neighbourhoods of Espoo.