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Challenge / Goal

The overall aim was to increase the district heating supply in “Leipzig West” and the share of renewable energies and use of waste heat in the district heating system.

Finding innovative system solutions for sustainable municipalities is important to reach the national and local targets for decarbonisation to tackle climate change. The identification of such strategies, particularly for the design of Positive Energy Districts (PEDs), is challenging for decision-makers since a variety of factors that point to the trends need to be taken into consideration. This applies, amongst other things, to the current business portfolio, the technological progress, the actor base, the regulatory framework and the market status. Given the complexity of this environment, system inter-dependencies and interactions between different alternatives need to be considered to systematically develop suitable strategies. In order to prevent stranded investments in the energy infrastructure, the planning process should comprise relevant scenarios for highly uncertain impact factors.


The techno-economic mathematical optimization framework IRPopt (Integrated Resource Planning and Optimization) supports decision-makers of municipal energy utilities as well as the public administration regarding future portfolio management. 

For this project, IRPopt was calibrated and applied to develop an expansion concept for district heating in “Leipzig West”. In a first step, the future generation portfolio is determined based on the mid-term strategy of the utility comprising, e.g. a coal phase-out and newly built low-carbon technologies. The integration of alternative heating solutions in the district heating system is examined and evaluated concerning levelized cost and CO2 emissions. These indicators also serve as a basis to be compared to stand-alone heating solutions in the district. Secondly, the analysis was extended for additional districts in terms of a replication strategy. 



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Time period

Planning time: Less than 6 months

Implementation time: 6 months to 1 year


Leipzig University, Leipziger Stadtwerke (LSW)

Service providers

Leipzig University

End users

Municipal utilities, e.g. Leipziger Stadtwerke

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