Malmö is replacing the use of biofuels and fossil fuels in heat generation withgeothermal heat

in order to achieve its energy and climate goals.

The City of Malmö has a track record of urban development initiatives that have led to its recognition as a pioneering sustainable city. The most well-known examples in the city are the Western Harbour district (Västra Hamnen), which has operated on 100% renewables since at least 2012, and Augustenborgin, an industrial area that has 450 square metres of solar thermal panels connected to the central heating system.

Malmö’s goal is to make all city government activities climate neutral by 2020 and to ensure that the entire city runs on 100% renewables by 2030. Malmö plans to achieve its 100% renewable energy goal from a mix of renewable sources, waste-to-energy and recycled energy. As of 2020, around 43% of Malmö’s energy was from renewable sourcesi, primarily wind energy.


The city has identified two challenging sectors that need to be addressed to stay on track to achieving the 2030 goal: transport and district heating. Sweden’s substantial district heating network was built in the 1950s, and many cities in the country have extensive systems. Malmö’s district heating system runs on a combination of biomass and fossil fuels. To help reduce fossil-based energy use, all of the municipalities in southern Sweden send their waste to Malmö, where it is processed and converted to heat that is fed into the district heating network. For example, at the Sysav waste-to-energy facility, the waste is reduced through thermal treatment processes to produce energy in the forms of electricity and heat.

Additionally, Malmö is constructing a 50 MWth geothermal deep-heat plantii, which is expected to start operation in 2022. The city plans to build a total of five geothermal heat plants by 2028, each with an installed capacity of 50 MWth, to replace the use of biofuels and biogas for heat generation. The estimated budget for this pilot project is EUR 5.4 million (USD 6 million), with the Swedish Energy Agency providing EUR 1.2 million (USD 1.34 million). The city’s partners include E.ON, a privately owned energy supplier that is investigating the geological conditions, as well as the Swedish Geological Survey and the University of Uppsala.

Source: See endnote 137 in the Markets and Infrastructure chapter.

iThis includes organic waste incineration and industrial waste heat.i

iiBoreholes will be in the range of five to seven kilometres deep, and the temperature of around 160°C is expected to be sufficient to directly enter the district heating network. This project will be one of Europe's first geothermal power plants to extract heat from such a depth at the industrial level.ii