Combined heat and power (CHP), an efficient heating method with cascades use of energy, accounts for approximately 50% of the heat sources in northern China. Many researchers have made significant efforts to improve its energy efficiency and environmental effects with important achievements. Given that the system produces heat and electricity at the same time, this study focuses on the role of CHP in the holistic urban energy system and points out the mismatch between the demand and supply sides of urban energy systems by using the heat-to-power ratio as a parameter. The calculation method and characteristics of the supply side heat-to-power ratio of eight heating methods and the maximum demand side heat-to-power ratio for 19 cities in northern China are displayed. After the analysis, it is concluded that (1) the maximum demand side heat-to-power ratio in the cities varies from 1.0 to 5.9, which is affected by the location and social, economic, and industrial structures. (2) In most of the cities, with the current energy structure, the demand side heat-to-power ratios are always larger than the supply side heat-to-power ratios. (3) The reduction in heating demand, surplus heat recovery, and the use of a highly efficient electric heating method, such as the heat pump, can help solve the mismatch of the heat-to-power ratio between the demand and supply sides. These conclusions can guide the urban energy planning and system construction.
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