28 August 2017

Heat Pumps in Smart Grids: Final report

The recognisable effects from climate change set mandatory requirements on energy conservation and use of renewable energy sources. Heat pump markets and policy makers in many countries have a focus on heat pumps for space heating and domestic hot water in the built environment. Therefore, there will be an increased need to adjust user-consumption to the production from the varying energy sources. Because energy consumption will become more tuned to the moment of availability, instead of the random like chosen moment of demand by the consumer/user. The graphs below give an impression of the electricity load change from a ‘traditional situation’ (no heat pump, solar PV, electric car) to the expected situation in the near future, when heat pumps and electric cars abound.
The figure emphasizes the need for smart girds, by means of determination of potential flexibility and load management and storage options. At the same time is offers a huge potential for handling electricity from renewable, intermittent, production by means of heat pumps.
Our energy system will have to change so significantly, that managing supply and demand to an unknown extend before will no longer be an optional requirement, but a strict need. Unlocking the potential of heat pumps related to smart grids with regard to managing peak loads and/or congestion management in the electricity system is therefore paramount.
Another necessity is to investigate how heat pumps can be implemented in connection with smaller thermal energy grids to smaller housing sectors or settlements. Before and during the execution of Annex 42 several projects have been started/carried out concerning the implementation of heat pumps in domestic housing in the countries of various participants. Amongst others the implementation of heat pumps in combination with district heating or district cooling and several smart city projects are being prepared.
Flexibility (and storage) are the essential elements for successful implementation of heat pumps in smart grids. Consequently, these subjects were main topics during several meetings within the Annex. Determination of implementation barriers for implementing the suggested systems in the case scenarios per country are the main activities of the Annex group. Furthermore, a roadmap has been drafted for smart connected heat pumps that tries to stipulate how the challenges are to be met. In the following chapters one can read valuable insights which have been achieved during the execution of the project. Insights on flexibility and/or load management with electrical heat pumps, and congestion management with hybrid heat pumps.