IEA Bioenergy Task 44: Flexible bioenergy and system integration (working period 2019-2022)
The ongoing energy transition is mainly driven by reductions in the cost of wind and solar energy, and political efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Although substantial deployment of variable renewable energy (VRE) is an important part of the overall transformation, rapid changes in the energy mix may pose challenges to the resilience of the electricity grid, particularly in times of weather-related stress. As fossil generation capacity is being retired and replaced by VRE generation, it raises the important question of how to maintain the stability and reliability of future energy supply.
Although climate and energy policies are still largely focussed on electricity, most of the energy is used for heating, cooling, and transport. These sectors have remained deeply reliant on fossil fuels and significant decarbonisation efforts are needed to ensure that the overall emission pledges of the Paris Accord can be met. In addition to sector-specific measures, it is essential to recognise the links between electricity, heat and transport and exploit synergies so that these sectors will support each other's in the effort to decarbonise.
The task is based on 3 projects done within IEA Bioenergy Task 41 special projects during 2016-17: As a common conclusion from these projects, bioenergy has some unique properties that can address many of the problems related to the rapid transition to a low-carbon energy system.
When sustainably sourced and used, bioenergy can
- operate as a key element in the coupling of different energy sectors;
- provide low-carbon energy to complement wind and solar (residual load and grid stabilisation);
- store electricity chemically into fuels to enable more efficient use of wind and solar;
- provide sustainable fuels for sectors where other decarbonisation options are not available or exceedingly expensive;
- provide high temperature heat to industry, and low temperature heat for buildings (and sanitary water) during dark and cold seasons;
- coproduce heat, electricity, fuels and other products in a single high-efficiency processing plant.
Achieving these objectives requires a fundamental shift in the way bioenergy is used, but there is currently a limited understanding on the details of such change. The national work in Task 44 therefore aims at:
- Identification of market barriers in the implementation of flexible bioenergy
- Collection of information on global technological and political developments, analysis of these data and dissemination to national stakeholders
- Influencing national and international developments by involving industrial, scientific and political stakeholders
- Distributing the obtained information to the largest possible group of relevant industries in order to adapt product and technology developments to changing conditions at an early stage and thus to seize opportunities that arise
Australia, Austria, Finland (Task leader), Germany (assistand task leader), Ireland, Netherlands, Sweden, Switzerland, United States of America