Coupling Variable Renewable Electricity Production to the Heating Sector through Curtailment and Power-to-heat Strategies for Accelerated Emission Reduction

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Abstract

The Paris Climate Accord and recent IPCC analysis urges to strive towards carbon neutrality by the middle of this century. As most of the end-use energy in Europe is for heating, or well above 60%, these targets will stress more actions in the heating sector. So far, much of the focus in the emission reduction has been on the electricity sector. For instance, the European Union has set as goal to have a carbon-free power system by 2050. Therefore, the efficient coupling of renewable energy integration to heat and heating will be part of an optimal clean energy transition. This paper applies optimization-based energy system models on national (Finland) and sub-national level (Helsinki) to include the heating sector in an energy transition. The models are based on transient simulation of the energy system, coupling variable renewable energies (VRE) through curtailment and power-to-heat schemes to the heat production system. We used large-scale wind power schemes as VRE in both cases. The results indicate that due to different energy system limitations and boundary conditions, stronger curtailment strategies accompanied with large heat pump schemes would be necessary to bring a major impact in the heating sector through wind power. On a national level, wind-derived heat could meet up to 40% of the annual heat demand. On a city level, the use of fossil fuel in combined heat and power production (CHP), typical for northern climates, could significantly be reduced leading even close to 70% CO2 emission reductions in Helsinki. Though these results were site specific, they indicate major opportunities for VRE in sectoral coupling to heat production and hence also a potential role in reducing the emissions.

Details

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-10
Number of pages10
JournalFuture Cities and Environment
Volume5
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 4 Jan 2019
MoE publication typeA1 Journal article-refereed

    Research areas

  • power-to-heat, energy system flexibility, urban energy system

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