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

The transformation of the currently hierarchical electricity system into a renewable, decentralized electricity system poses major challenges for the actors in the energy industry and society. Most of the installed decentralized renewable energy sources are installed in rural areas, due to easier legal implementation and shorter decision-making pathways. However, the energy density in urban areas is significantly higher, resulting in a transport of electrical energy to the consumption centers.

Short Description

Based on the challenges of future energy system designs, the research question of the Urban Energy Cells project is how to significantly increase the share of decentralized renewable energy producers in urban areas through the adaption of business and financing models. Thus, such business models became possible since the change in legislation ElWOG in the summer of 2017.

In urban areas, however, there are many challenges for the implementation of energy cells (such as ownership structure, legal barriers, cost-effectiveness). Different market participants may finance, construct, operate and maintain decentralized generators, storage, and networks in energy cells. So, integration of renewable, decentralized energy sources in urban areas may be feasible in the future.

In a first step, the legal and economic framework conditions of current business and financing models for energy cells were surveyed. Based on this, possible future hybrid energy system designs were worked out and the perspectives of different investors investigated. In the next step, five possible energy cells and technology portfolios were defined. Great emphasis was placed on typical consumers as well as generation and storage technologies. By looking at the electricity, heat and gas sectors together, this project includes a hybrid view of the energy system. We optimized the energy cells by a Pareto optimization in regard to objective functions: cost and network peak performance. The reason is that not only to get results for the cost-optimal solution but also to quantify the most efficient combinations of a technology portfolio.

The results show that the combination of photovoltaic, heat pumps, power heaters, and heat storage can provide both economic and systemic benefits (by reducing peak power). Also, the studies show that when investing in photovoltaics in energy cells, a high correlation coefficient between generation and consumption is relevant. The results show that energy cells can reduce emissions as well as costs.

The results were used for the conception of an implementation project in an apartment building in Vienna. This project will become the first joint production plant in Vienna and should provide insights into the future implementation of further plants. Future projects will deal with the real-life implementation of the electricity sharing models and energy cells. The implementation and operation of energy cells in practice will show what the further difficulties are.

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