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UrbanEnergyCells - Requirements for the implementation of energy cells in future energy system designs

The aim of the project is the investigation of concepts, business- and financing models for urban energy cells. Urban energy cells are aggregated consumers within a multi-family house, which can be an interface to the upstream grid, and which can operate more flexibly and economically more effectively through joint investment in renewable generation and storage technologies as well as coordinated control.

Short Description

A major focus is on the (further) development of business and financing models considering the risks with regard to future economic and legal framework conditions of the energy system. The disaggregated modeling of the individual actors as well as the joint consideration of the electricity, heat and gas sector are essential for the quantification.

Starting point / motivation

The transformation of the current hierarchical power system towards a renewable decentralised system represents a great challenges for the stakeholders in energy industry and society.

The majority of existing decentralised renewable energy sources (RES) has been installed in rural areas due to simpler legal implementation and shorter ways of decision-making.

However, the energy density in urban areas is significantly higher. Thus, electricity has to be transported to consumption centres via transmission and distribution grids. Consequently, the increase of power generation in rural areas requires a greater expansion of electricity grids.

Contents and goals

Based on challenges of future energy system designs, the project "Urban Energy Cells" addresses the research question of how new business and financing models can help to significantly increase the share of decentralised RES in urban areas. The implementation of energy cells and micro-grids is supposed to provide great potential for this purpose.

However, in urban areas this approach faces a lot of challenges concerning e.g. ownership structure, legal barriers or profitability. On the other hand, an aggregation of demand and RES can provide various business opportunities for energy service companies (ESCO).

An ESCO could manage financing, construction, operation and maintenance of decentralised RES, storage devices and grids within energy cells. This can facilitate the integration of RES in urban areas. By considering the electricity system as well as the heating and the natural gas domain, the project embraces a hybrid approach on the energy system.

Methods

In a first step, the current regulatory and economic framework for existing business and financing models related to energy cells as well as existing incentive mechanisms for the flexibilisation of demand and the integration of RES are examined. Based on this, possible future energy system designs are elaborated. Subsequently, new alternative business and financing models for a future hybrid energy system are developed, evaluated in different case studies using techno-economic modelling and ranked in terms of profitability, sustainability and feasibility.

Expected results

The expected results are:

  • Classification of existing business and financing models for hybrid energy systems
  • Conclusions derived from economic efficiency analyses of hybrid ESCOs
  • Development of business and financing models for urban ESCOs
  • Identification of legal and regulatory drivers and barriers
  • Risk analysis of Investments
  • Potential analysis of implementation projects

Project Partners

Project management

Technische Universität Wien - Institut für Energiesysteme und elektrische Antriebe - Energy Economics Group

Project or cooperation partners

  • Sonnenplatz Großschönau GmbH
  • Wien Energie GmbH

Contact Address

Georg Lettner
Gusshausstrasse 25-29/E370-3
A-1040 Wien
Tel.: +43 (1) 58801-370376
Fax: +43 (1) 58801-370397
E-mail: lettner@eeg.tuwien.ac.at
Web: www.eeg.tuwien.ac.at

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