Country Resources

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Country Resources is where the Initiative presents all activities at the country level, including methodologies, webinars, training modules and cases studies. Each resource can also be found within each country's page.

UK Model for promoting district energy


Rapid assessments: Through its country-level activities, the Initiative has tailored a global rapid assessment methodology to produce country-specific rapid assessment methodologies, tools and Terms of Reference (ToRs) for assessing district energy in light touch cities. These rapid assessments examine the local impacts of heating and cooling demand, ongoing and planned city programmes through which district energy could be promoted and the policy options available to each city.


Each report includes high-level technical and financial assessments of multiple upcoming or existing real estate projects in the cities and identifies barriers to their implementation. The rapid assessments also explore national programmes, barriers and the policy and regulatory framework relevant to district energy. Recommendations at the city, state and national level are developed and light touch cities continue to be supported by the Initiative.

  • Rapid assessments:

Apart from Pune, which hosts a small, privately-operated district cooling project, none of the cities have district cooling. The key objectives of the light-touch support are two-fold: firstly, through the DES rapid assessments, the DES Initiative will identify one high opportunity pilot city per country for ‘deep-dive’ support (described in Component 2) and secondly, create a pipeline of cities in each country that will commit to developing DES, providing a critical mass for market transformation. As such, selection of cities to receive light touch support requires prior knowledge of the viability of DES in different cities within a country and an understanding of cities’ willingness to commit to developing DES. The 16 selected cities are required to officially join the DES Initiative and to commit to assess and implement a policy action or commit to the Initiative’s “10-step DES action modules” (Figure 1) and track and report progress, dependent on technical and economic viability of DES as per the rapid assessments. To identify these cities. the DES Initiative has developed the following city selection criteria for light touch support to ensure both these objectives can be achieved:

1. Location in a Non-Annex 1 Party to the UNFCCC and a GEF eligible country;
2. Feasible energy and emissions savings;
3. Large DES market potential;
4. Alignment of DES with national priorities and programmes;
5. Political commitment by the local government leadership to support a DES demonstration project, including political stability over the project cycle;
6. DES Initiative partner presence in the city/region;
7. Pre-existing assessments of the opportunities and challenges for district energy;
8. DES Initiative partner or local private stakeholder interest to: contribute towards city assessments (e.g. finance feasibility studies or provide technical experts to a Deployable Project Work Team in the city); provide finance to develop modern district energy; bid on future tenders released by the city relating to district energy;
9. City strategy, plan, targets or programmes that relate to district energy;
10. Opportunities to leverage in-kind or existing program resources or local government administrative staff;
11. Geographic and city size diversity ensuring replicability in other cities in the country;
12. Diversity of market types for district energy across the different market types: new district heating, new district cooling, expansion and refurbishment;
13. Opportunities to expand and integrate benefits of the Accelerator platform including by partnering with the Building Efficiency Accelerator (BEA) to demonstrate how district energy solutions and building efficiency measures combined offer strong sustainability outcomes;
14. City commitment to invest or co-finance a DES demonstration project if shown to be techno-economically feasible.

The Initiative has authored and co-authored numerous publications as part of its goal to raise awareness of district energy and share best practices on technology, policy, business models and financing. The latest global publications can be found below. Publications relating to countries can be found in Country Resources

DES Publication copy.jpg

District Energy in Cities: Unlocking the Potential of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy published in 2015 was among the first to provide concrete policy, finance and technology best practice guidance on addressing the heating and cooling sectors in cities through energy efficiency improvements and the integration of renewables using district energy systems. The recommendations were developed in collaboration with 45 champion cities, all of which use modern district energy. This report was the first to consolidate data on the multiple benefits that cities, countries and regions have achieved through the use of modern district energy, in an effort to support evidence-based policy recommendations and to raise awareness of the significance of the heating and cooling sectors, which have been insufficiently addressed in the climate and energy debate. The publication concludes with a comprehensive global methodology for local governments to integrate district energy into their cities. Authors: UN Environment, ICLEI, C2E2, UN Habitat. The full report has been translated into Chinese and French and the Executive Summary is available separately in English and Spanish

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Aligning District Energy and Building Energy Efficiency published in September 2018 as a joint publication by the Building Efficiency Accelerator (BEA) and the District Energy in Cities Initiative, two initiatives under Sustainable Energy for All (SEforALL). The report's aim was to support all public authorities and agencies developing and implementing integrated approaches to both energy efficiency in buildings and district energy supply. The report specifically focuses on the City of Belgrade, Serbia, a pilot city of both Initiatives and provides guidance to decision-makers in Belgrade, while presenting universal recommendations to align district energy and energy efficiency in buildings. Authors: Buildings Performance Institute Europe (BPIE), Copenhagen Centre on Energy Efficiency, UN Environment

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Good Practice Guide - District Energy published in 2016 as a joint publication of UN Environment and the C40 Cities Climate Leadership Group. C40 have developed a series of Good Practice Guides in areas critical for reducing GHG emissions and climate risk. The guides provide an overview of the key benefits of a particular climate action and outline successful approaches and strategies cities can employ to effectively scale up these actions. These Guides are based on the experience and lessons learned from C40 cities and on the findings and recommendations of leading organisations and research institutions engaged in these areas. This guide draws from the research and findings of the UNEP report, District Energy in Cities: Unlocking the Potential of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy and focuses on the key elements to successfully deliver district energy, with a survey of best practices leading to better economic, social, and environmental outcomes for cities.

Webinars and Recordings

Clicking the links below will take you to the video and associated presentations (where available)

Global Presentations

Global Training Modules

City case studies

(coming soon)