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ICLEI – Local Governments for Sustainability is a global network working with more than 2,500 local and regional governments committed to sustainable urban development.

ICLEI Regional Secretariats and country offices

KeepWarm – Improving the performance of district heating systems in Central and Eastern Europe

What we did

The KeepWarm project “Improving the performance of district heating systems in Central and Eastern Europe” targets the largest energy user in the EU: energy demand for heating and cooling (49%). It promotes district heating systems (DHS) for heat generation as the most effective solution in densely populated areas. However, especially true for Central/Eastern European countries, many DHSs are highly energy inefficient and need to be modernised. Furthermore, that the predominant energy sources used are still fossil fuels (oil, gas or coal) makes interventions ever more urgent. KeepWarm uniquely combines concrete work with pilot DHSs in seven countries [Austria, Croatia, Czech Republic, Latvia, Serbia, Slovenia and Ukraine] to increase their systems’ efficiency, reduce GHG emissions and switch to renewable energy sources. Through the project’s Twinning programme coordinated by ICLEI Europe, the pilot DHSs gain further insights from an international perspective through multi-step exchanges with DHS counterparts working under similar/complementary circumstances in other target countries. The lessons learned from this programme offer on-the-ground experiences very replicable to other DHSs across the wider region. To achieve a longer-lasting impact, ICLEI Europe and other partners are facilitating a close alignment between DHSs and public authorities, especially most relevant at the local and regional levels, but even seeking to influence national and EU-level policy processes. It also seeks to build closer interaction with potential investors to increase the likelihood that DH business plans and measures developed within KeepWarm receive the necessary funding. The overall aim of this approach is to bring together all these private and public stakeholders to ensure framework conditions conducive to jointly implementing a common energy transition.

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How we tracked

500 GWh/year of triggered energy savings (of all KeepWarm DHS combined) 1’250 GWh/year of energy production from renewable sources triggered by the project during its duration 411 tons/year CO2 emission reduction over the course of the project 15 DHS owners/operators and other relevant stakeholders twinned 280 district heating system operators trained (Austria: 60, Croatia: 15, CZ: 80, Latvia: 30, Serbia: 55, Slovenia: 20, Ukraine: 20) 15’000 website users 400 downloads from the website 200 participants to European and national KeepWarm events 10’000 participants at third-party events where KeepWarm is presented 5,6M€ cumulative investment made into sustainable DHS 450 people with increased capacities and skills on energy issues

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What we achieved

ICLEI coordinates the dissemination, communication and exploitation tasks of the project. The objective of this work package is to disseminate targeted information to multiple audiences in a strategic and effective manner, as well as to communicate its results to a wider audience, including relevant national/European networks and public authorities across the whole region. However, its ultimate aim is to systematise the replication of the services from all other work packages, even beyond the project duration. In that way not only the partners and selected DHSs will continue to actively use the KeepWarm approach, but each pilot DHS actually serves as a replicable role model for how additional actors in their countries, as well as beyond national/EU borders, can sustainably improve DHS network operations, services and retrofitting in the long-term.

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Association for District Heating of the Czech Republic, Chamber of Agriculture Styria, Croatia - REGEA, Energy Efficiency Agency, GIZ, Jozef Stefan Institute - JSI, KT-Energy, Saleska and Koroska region, The Energy Agency of Savinjska, University of Zagreb, Vinča Nuclear Research Institute - VINCA, Zemgale Regional Energy Agency - ZREA,

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Related publications

KeepWarm Learning Centre
KeepWarm Policy Spotlight #1 “EU Directive: More renewable energy for district heating and cooling”
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