A retrofit of the fossil-fuel dominated heating sector will need new sources of energy supply. At the same time, a significant amount of end-user flexibility will be required to enable increased share of variable renewable energy sources (VRES) in the power grid. Flexible operation of heating and cooling loads has a high potential, and this flexibility can be significantly enhanced with the active use of thermal energy storage (TES). Cross-sectoral integration can be achieved by combining large-scale heat pumps powered by VRES with underground and surface TES, allowing storage of heat and cold at different timescales.
FLXenabler will take a holistic approach and look simultaneously at the heating and cooling transition and the flexibility this can provide when combining heat pumps with surface and underground TES, from local energy communities to national scale. The project will emphasize the role of geothermal resources and perform characterization of stacked resources for geothermal heating/cooling and integration with underground TES systems to model the impact of their deployment on the future grid and decarbonization goals.
Low-carbon energy communities are an important building block in creating decarbonized heating and cooling systems, and the project will develop a modeling framework for optimal utilization of fossil-free local resources for flexible heating and cooling supply. Looking at different case studies in Europe and the U.S., the project will suggest possible future business cases for energy community implementation.
Building upon strong relevant expertise of partners from Norway, Austria, and the U.S., FLXenabler will apply energy system optimization models from community level to national scale to demonstrate how sector coupling and integration of surface and underground TES can accelerate and reduce the costs of transition into a fully decarbonized energy system in Europe and the U.S, in line with the decarbonization targets.