Flexibility in Carbon-neutral Energy Systems
Students: Tommi Kemmo, Binh Vo, Jonne Malmberg, Mikael Peltonen, Valtteri Hytti
Project manager: Valtteri Hytti
Instructor: Mahdi Pourakbari Kasmaei
Starting date: 29.1.2022
Countries around the world are moving from their current and more polluting energy sources towards greener renewable energy sources. For example, Finland has set an ambitious goal of becoming carbon-neutral by 2035. Renewable energy sources are highly variable due to their fluctuating nature and therefore power system flexibility must be improved to ensure the availability of electricity. The goal of this project was to investigate the available solutions for increasing the power system flexibility in Finland.
We identified four concepts, that could help improve the flexibility. These concepts include vehicle-to-grid, power-to-heat, peer-to-peer energy trading and integrated community energy systems. Vehicle-to-grid means, that the batteries of electric vehicles could be used as an energy storage to help compensate the fluctuating generation. Power-to-heat technologies allow production of heat directly from electricity. Thermal energy can be stored for extended periods of time and therefore it would also improve energy storage capabilities. Peer-to-peer energy trading allows prosumers to buy and sell their own surplus energy production, which would help reduce the strain on the electricity grid from time to time. Integrated community energy systems would divide the grid into smaller and self-sufficient units, that could generate their own electricity and operate independently from the grid.
It can be concluded that although these technologies have potential to improve the power system flexibility, some of them, such as vehicle-to-grid, are still at very early stages of development and therefore are not yet suitable for real-life implementation. The lack of real-life experience also makes it hard to estimate their overall cost-effectiveness. However, these solutions can offer enormous opportunities to increase the overall power system flexibility once they are further developed and luckily efforts into their development are constantly increasing.