Consequences of demand-side interventions on the operation efficiency of future energy systems

Research output: ThesisDoctoral ThesisCollection of Articles


National energy systems are in a state of transition. Electricity and heat generation from renewableenergy sources has increased substantially during the past few years in the European Union (EU).The EU member states project ambitious national targets for higher integration of variablerenewable energy (VRE) within electricity markets in particular. In this dissertation, the consequences of demand-side interventions on the energy system operation are examined. Demand-side interventions are studied in energy systems, where future transition is guided by the climate change mitigation policies for reducing greenhouse gas emissions and increasing the share of renewable energy sources. First, the impact of stakeholder preferences in the evaluation ofdifferent heating choices for new single-family house in Finland are examined. The decisionproblem was analysed using multicriteria analysis considering different technical, economic, environmental and usability criteria. Since energy systems are being further interconnected in theEU through international power markets, the spatial and temporal variations regarding theenvironmental effects of electricity generation are examined in a national and multinational levelanalysis. The temporal variations in marginal electricity generation implicate that the short-termmarginal cost of production can vary significantly according to the time of the day. This means thatthe true cost of consuming electricity varies also depending of the time of use. In this regard, it isexamined how demand response, in this case temporally available shiftable demand affects theenergy system operation in Finland in future scenarios with increased shares of nuclear power andvariable renewable energy. The results indicate that in power markets that are highlyinterconnected, the effects of different demand-side interventions are not necessarily restricted tothe country (or bidding area) where demand-side intervention is committed. This is because theemissions embodied in electricity or system efficiency gains can leak to the neighbouring countriesas a consequence of electricity exchange. In this case, viewing the effects of demand-sideinterventions from a national perspective may be suboptimal. This study thus suggests that the marginal electricity generation in a multi-region system should be considered. Using the long-term perspective is also recommended when estimating the marginal consequences of a demand-side intervention that will influence the energy system in the long-term. Due to the spatial and temporal variations in marginal electricity generation, taking into account the time-varying nature of marginal emissions is recommended in relevant life cycle assessment studies. This variation was found to increase in the future due to the higher VRE integration. Demand response can be utilised to balance short-term variations in residual demand. However, its potential to facilitate higher integration of VRE can be limited by the technical and economic restrictions that constrain thedemand-side resource capacity utilisation. Demand response can therefore only partially replaceflexible conventional supply technologies in the provision of balancing power and energy.
Translated title of the contributionKysyntäjoustotoimenpiteiden vaikutukset tulevaisuuden energiajärjestelmien toimintaan
Original languageEnglish
QualificationDoctor's degree
Awarding Institution
  • Aalto University
  • Syri, Sanna, Supervising Professor
  • Syri, Sanna, Thesis Advisor
Print ISBNs978-952-60-8427-5
Electronic ISBNs978-952-60-8428-2
Publication statusPublished - 2019
MoE publication typeG5 Doctoral dissertation (article)


  • energy system
  • marginal emission factor
  • demand response
  • renewable energy


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