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Juneau, Alaska on Denmark’s radar for district heat plans

Juneau, Alaska on Denmark’s radar for district heat plans

A proposed district heating project in Juneau has captured the attention of the Danish District Energy Alliance.

On April 15-16, The Danish District Energy Alliance, represented by Senior Advisor, Jakob Bjerregaard from the Embassy of Denmark in Washington D.C. and Miha Kavcic from the Danfoss Heating in North America, visited the Alaskan Capital, Juneau, to learn about and discuss an upcoming district heating project for the city.

The Alliance gave a presentation to the legislature in Juneau about the history and current operation of Denmark’s successful district heating systems, and the opportunities lying ahead for Juneau and Alaska.

Later that week the new House Bill 143 – which passed both in the House and the Senate – authorized the Alaska Industrial Development and Export Authority to issue up to $120 million in conduit issuance bonds to finance Juneau Hydropower’s hydroelectric project at Sweetheart Lake. In addition to supplying power to Kensington Mine, the project also includes a sea-water heat-pump connected to a district heating system for downtown Juneau.

After having read about these developments the Danish District Energy Alliance decided to showcase the possibilities that the Danish District Energy Alliance could offer to the citizens of Juneau.

Denmark has a long standing history within district heating as Embassy representative Mr Jakob Bjerregaard explained in an interview to KTOO.

“We’ve had district energy in Denmark for 110 years and we’ve developed it quite heavily, and now we’re trying to bring these world class solutions to North America”.

When asked about the benefits related to adopting district energy heating in Alaska, Mr Bjerregaard explained:
“There’s quite a few. Of course, you’d expect the heat cost to go down because oil is pretty expensive. There’s the convenience of not having to maintain an oil boiler etc. The air quality in the city will be better, and the general economic development in the city; you will basically keep the money in the community instead of sending it to oil companies outside of the city and the state.”

This is the first step of many a confident Mr. Bjerregaard concludes “There’s already some district energy systems in Alaska. They’re a little bit more “old-school,” you could say; they are steam-based, whereas we are trying to bring a more modern hot water based solution to the state. I think we’ll find some more projects up here, definitely.

Currently the city of Juneau, as with many other Alaskan cities and communities, is supplied by electricity from hydro power, but mainly heated by oil that is shipped in.