IEA HPT Task 42: Heat pumps in smart energy grids for sustainable cities

The aim of Annex 42 is to analyse the technical possibilities as well as the economic/regulatory framework conditions of heat pumps for load balancing in smart grids, which are largely controlled by electricity supplier, and to investigate the impact on thermal consumers and possible potentials, in order to work out economic incentive models for load shifting and the benefits for energy supply companies and end customers on this basis.

Short Description

Initial situation / state of the art

The increased feed in of renewable energy sources into the electric grid and changes in the gas market have put increasing economic pressure on energy supply companies, requiring them to develop and launch new business cases. Heat pumps are an attractive way of reducing electricity supply peaks as well as indirect, because thermal storage of excess electricity. They can either be switched on or off in pooled form (one and two-family houses) by means of intelligent grid control and can be used as large heat pumps in district heating networks for storage or peak shaving, and will thus fulfil an important third function in addition to heating and cooling, i. e. storage/grid balancing, in the future.
The heat pump manufacturers have been offering heat pumps on the market for several years now, which are equipped with smart grid functionality and are therefore basically suitable for flexible timing control by external parties. On the grid side, a number of research projects have created the control engineering prerequisites for the integration of heat pumps. What is currently hindering the energy suppliers from implementing this on a large scale is above all the lack of business models, including suitable tariff models.

Suggested solution

In the national Annex 42 project, various scenarios for the integration of heat pump systems in the SFH area are to be modelled and simulated in detail in order to determine the load shifting potential of heat pumps in the use of intelligent networks and to analyse its effects on network operation.


  • Suggestions for business cases incl. tariff models
  • Determination of the benefits for energy supply companies and end customers
  • Comparison of simple vs. detailed heat pump simulation
  • Development of an MPC concept at device level
  • simulations with a predictive controller (thermal comfort / economical)
  • Investigation of the thermal effects/impacts on buildings


Austria, France, Germany, the Netherlands, South Korea, Switzerland, the United Kingdom, the United States

Contact Address

Austrian Institute of Technology GmbH (AIT)
Dr. Thomas Fleckl
Giefinggasse 2
A-1210 Wien
Tel.: +43 (0) 50550-6616

TU Graz, Institut für Wärmetechnik
Ao.Univ.-Prof. Dr. Rene Rieberer
Inffeldgasse 25/B
8010 Graz