Electricity & heat production

World-leading combined heat and power plants and new technologies

Our heat and power generating plants play an important role in supplying the Danish district heating and electricity grids with great flexibility and at a competitive price.

In the past, they ran on various fossil fuels, including large amounts of coal. Today, they’ve been almost entirely converted to operate without coal, with sustainable biomass providing the main low-carbon alternative to the heavily polluting fossil fuel.

Today, we operate our seven large-scale CHP plants, one heat plant, and one peak load power plant as efficiently as possible, minimising environmental impacts. While these plants continue to play an important role in our low-carbon energy business, building new ones is not part of our strategy for the future.

How do combined heat and power plants work?

Heat and power plants burn fuel to create high-pressure steam to turn turbines that drive electricity generation. The remaining heat in the steam is then used to heat water for district heating.

Generating heat and power in combination means that more of the fuel’s energy content is released – up to 89 % at the high-tech Avedøre CPH near Copenhagen. This efficiency makes our power stations more cost-effective by using less fuel to generate the same amount of energy.

Biomass has allowed us to retire coal

Over the years, we’ve taken significant steps towards decarbonising our CHP plants.

The combined heat and power (CHP) plants in Denmark were converted from oil to coal to reduce oil import dependency.
As the awareness of climate change and the demand for carbon reductions increased, politicians and energy companies began to explore greener alternatives to coal.
We decided not to build new coal-fired power plants and instead convert our CHP plants to use wooden biomass. There was widespread support among politicians and our municipal district heating customers for wooden biomass as the most climate-friendly alternative to coal.
We decided to fully phase out coal by 2023 – a fundamental step in our green transformation.
In 2019, coal only accounted for 9 % of our energy generation, having reduced our coal consumption by 91 % from 2006.
By 2023, we’ll have phased out coal entirely, bringing the emissions from generation close to zero.

The future of biomass

With the increasing green electrification of Denmark’s energy system, the role of our CHP plants is primarily to produce heating for the Danish district heating system and backup power for the Danish electricity grid.

In future, technologies like large-scale heat pumps, electrical boilers, and surplus heat from Power-to-X facilities are expected to become cost-competitive alternatives to CPH plants. This means that over time, they can replace and supplement a substantial part of the sustainable biomass in Danish district heating.

Our Combined Heat and Power Plants

Learn how we’ve reduced the coal consumption in our heat and power production by 91 % since 2006 by replacing it with sustainable biomass.

Wide shot of Studstrup Power Station.