Title: Coupling the heating and power sectors: The role of centralised combined heat and power plants and district heat in a European decarbonised power system
Citation: APPLIED ENERGY vol. 270 p. 115134
Publication Year: 2020
JRC N°: JRC120259
ISSN: 0306-2619 (online)
URI: https://publications.jrc.ec.europa.eu/repository/handle/JRC120259
DOI: 10.1016/j.apenergy.2020.115134
Type: Articles in periodicals and books
Abstract: This work examines the role of centralised cogeneration plants in a future decarbonised context. Even in this context, thermal power plants will still exist and the utilisation of their excess heat via district heating networks can assist under conditions the decarbonisation of the built environment. In particular, we assess the potential of existing thermal power plants to operate as combined heat and power (CHP) plants and we quantify their impact on the power system. To do so, we describe the European heat demand for the built environment, focused on the heat demand supplied with fossil fuels, and the European power sector. Then, we use a power system model (Dispa-SET) to evaluate this coupling pathway in terms of costs, efficiencies and associated CO2 emissions. We develop the analysis for the current and future European power system. Results show that the conversion of thermal into CHP plants increases the efficiency, reduces the costs of the energy system and its environmental impact, and offers alternative flexibility options. Still, large investments regarding the deployment of thermal networks are required to leverage the full CHP potential.
JRC Directorate:Energy, Transport and Climate

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