The 5th Generation District Heating and Cooling (5GDHC) network has great advantages in terms of integration of low-temperature resources, bi-directional operation, decentralised energy flows, and possible energy sharing. One way to develop the idea and concept of 5GDHC is to identify potential agents, including residential buildings, office buildings, shopping malls, data centres, electrical transformers, and so on, in 5GDHC in each target context. The prospects for 5GDHC have been assessed in light of the conditions in the Baltics.   

The multi-criteria analysis method was used to quantify the main identified barriers and drivers behind the implementation of 5GDHC systems. Qualitative comparison was made by discussing the barriers and drivers that each country faces, and a quantitative comparison was made by assigning numerical values to each criterion. The quantitative analysis was performed using a multi-criteria decision method to compare various aspects of a potential 5GDHC implementation. The result of the quantitative analysis is the ranking of the country for each aspect. 

The results in the figure show different values for similar and prioritised criteria values. When the identified criteria are prioritised by assigning higher weight values for the possibility of introducing an innovative business model and available support for technology implementation, followed by criteria describing the existing situation in each country’s energy sector, Lithuania has the highest score due to support availability and open heating market conditions. However, when equal criteria weights are assigned, the highest evaluation rank belongs to Estonia due to the wider use of HPs and higher excess heat potential. 

The analysis paper:
Volkova, Anna; Pakere, Ieva; Murauskaite, Lina; Huang, Pei; Lepiksaar, Kertu; Zhang, Xinxing (2022). 5th generation district heating and cooling (5GDHC) implementation potential in urban areas with existing district heating systems. Energy Reports, 8, 10037−10047. DOI: 10.1016/j.egyr.2022.07.162