One of the PLaMES tool’s objectives is to quantify the value of added services in future energy systems and provide knowledge about system’s relations.
Finding and understanding those relations in the development and design of the best approach to energy sectors coupling, is key for the decarbonization of the entire energy value-chain and to reach the objective of limiting the impact of climate change. As an example, the integration of the electrical and heat sectors requires the understanding of the energy balance, the analysis of infrastructures upgrades needed to properly integrate these two sectors and the impact that the integration will have in terms of socio-economic costs and the environment.
In an exemplary case study, we determined the cost and benefits of district heating in Germany by varying the availability of heat storages and penetration of district heating. The picture shows four different scenarios (each described in the left quadrant) where DH increases its share both as technology for supplying heat and as storage systems. The results of our modelling (right side of the picture) showed that expanding district heating may reduce the total energy system costs by providing additional storages, cheaper if compared with typical electrical storage options, reduce the overall CO2 balance up to 0,7-million-ton CO2eq but may also increase the direct cost of heat itself. More studies can be performed in the future to understand the real impact of multi-energy systems.
In this study it was displayed how sector integration is important for reducing the total environmental footprint but in parallel it showed an increase in the cost of energy which could create other problem for our societies.