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Sector Coupling

Buildings able to relieve strain on power grids

The transition to cleaner energy is also turning the spotlight onto properties which would not have been directly associated with power grid regulation before. A new brochure explains the current state of discussions about grid-beneficial buildings and neighborhoods.

18 Jul. 2018
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Buildings able to relieve strain on power grids (Photo: Fraunhofer ISE )

The key concept is sector coupling , says a BINE Information Service report: previously separate sectors of the energy system will be interlinked and synchronized with the aim of improving efficiency. This also includes buildings. They can reduce strain on power grids – for example by adapting their power consumption and local energy production capabilities to suit the grid. Amongst other things, however, this requires control and management strategies. Several ideas for this are presented in the 24-page brochure from the Leibniz Institute for Information Infrastructure .

According to the authors, benefits to the grid should in future be considered right from the building design stage. The compendium states that up until now, however, most building energy systems have been grid-adverse or at best grid-neutral. Good intentions alone are not enough to encourage a change in thinking here. There has for instance been a lack of adequate financial incentives for building operators, such as time-of-use electricity tariffs for consumers. One reason is that more than 75% of an energy price is completely unrelated to the spot price, and is instead made up of taxes, duties and levies.

Grid-responsive and grid-beneficial buildings are also being researched elsewhere, such as Austria. In a presentation of the climate protection initiative there, it is noted amongst other things on the basis of research by Prof. Dr.-Ing. Gerhard Hausladen (Technical University of Munich) that buildings have a great passive storage capacity available which is not as yet being used for load management measures. Electric heat pumps that could allow surplus electrical output to be stored cost-effectively and efficiently in the form of heat are reported as being particularly suitable.