FOCUS SMART HEATING – SYSTEM INTEGRATION
By Daniel Møller Sneum, PhD fellow at DTU Management, Energy Economics and Regulation
As a policy-maker, practitioner or researcher, wouldn’t it be nice with a checklist of barriers to flexible and integrated district energy (DE) systems? This study is just that by identifying 33 different barriers, ranging from technical issues to how stakeholders think and act. Main barriers may be bounded rationality, grid codes and power market signals. Did that not make much sense? Then read on. DISTRICT ENERGY, INTEGRATION AND FLEXIBILITY – RELATED BUT DIFFERENT Let us first get familiar with the terms. DE systems – small or large and always with a heating/cooling grid – generate/ consume any combination of cooling, heating and electricity. DE systems can be integrated by being connected to the electricity grid, but they should also be flexible – i.e. responding to signals, such as electricity prices. From this, we get four different levels of integration and flexibility, ranging from the yet-to-be-built system to the fully flexible system (see figure 1).
Figure 2 depicts an integrated and flexible district heating plant with CHP, electric boiler and a heat storage. 1. High electricity prices; low wind share. CHP supplies heat and electricity. 2. Medium electricity prices; medium wind share. Heat storage supplies heat. 3. Low electricity prices; high wind share. Electric boiler consumes electricity and supplies heat.
Figure 2: Fully integrated and flexible district heating plant, responding to market prices and/or renewable-share in the energy system
BARRIERS The research behind this study covers 100+ scientific articles, reports and other documentation. Brace yourself for a brief introduction to each of the 33 barriers identified.
OPERATIONAL SIGNALLING Operational signals are needed to operate flexibly.
Absence of signal-providing scheme: A scheme to provide signals to operate flexibly is typically a power market. Such schemes are typically not present in areas with vertically integrated electric utilities. Solution: Establishing a signal-providing scheme is the primary solution. If an electricity market is undesired, another step can be incentivising vertically integrated utilities to implement signal-providing schemes.
Figure 1: Four levels of district energy – from yet-to-be-built to fully integrated and flexible.
E N E R G Y A N D E N V I R O N M E N T
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