As we work on the models, the web tool, and the preparation of the 2 main test cases, based on Germany energy system and 5 regions served by OEDAS in Turkey, we are also asking ourselves what the real meaning is of “affordable”, “secure” and “sustainable”. What if, in order to have create a society fossil fuel free by 2050, the energy system becomes too expensive leaving the majority of civil society in jeopardy for what concerns energy security? What are the necessary security measures for the highest possible penetration of renewable energy sources? Can we afford to leave out fossil fuels, at least as security baseload back-ups? These are all questions that all the partners in the consortium will try to answer and why we are all working hard in the development of the PlaMES tool.
Disruptive structural developments are necessary to deliver to the European Union’s COP21 commitments, as defined by the “Clean Energy for All Europeans” package. Specific targets and measures are identified for the energy performance in buildings, renewable energy, energy efficiency, governance and the electricity market design that envisage an increased cross-border cooperation and mobilization of public and private investment.
But what are specific PlaMES targets and objectives? The EU pledged to reduce GHG emission by 40% before 2030, to have at least 32% of renewable energy utilization in the energy system and to reach an overall level of energy efficiency of 32.5%. PlaMES use case 2 will focus on reaching, at least, these targets by 2030 trying to increase substantially the share of RES in the energy mix to cover not only electricity demand but also transportation and heat demand.
Although very ambitious, these targets are only a first step towards the main goal which is the carbon neutrality by 2050. PlaMES use case 1, focused on the German energy grid, will be created around this target considering CO2 emissions as main modelling constraints and evaluating what technology and infrastructural investments, both on the generation and transmission side, will be necessary to reach the objective. The goal is also to have a representative number regarding the future cost of energy considering both CAPEX and OPEX expenditures in relation with the abovementioned CO2 emissions limits.
Different strategies will be evaluated, from modifying the energy dispatching curve in order to reduce the burden on the transmission grid to use district heating networks as balancing technology for the electric system when RES generation is higher than total demand, from evaluating different technology for the transmission and distribution grid expansion to the application of electrical and thermal storage in order to balance the system in the medium to long term. These are all scenarios that could be evaluated to find the best and optimal mix of technologies necessary to shape the next generation of energy systems which will be designed around the very ambitious EU sustainable objectives.