Integrated and flexible energy systems: the untapped potential of DHC

Date: 30 March 2023

Place: Comet Meetings – Louise (Pl. Stéphanie 20, 1050 Brussels)

Time: 09h30-13h00 + networking lunch

Organizers: RES-DHC and REWARDHeat

The ongoing conflict and energy crisis are a reminder of the pressing need to decarbonise our energy systems and ensure energy independence through the integration of renewable energy sources.

Over the last decade, the electricity sector has undergone a remarkable transformation, turning it into the cleanest energy carrier in Europe, with an impressive 37.5% of renewables in gross electricity consumption in 2021. However, the influx of variable renewables such as wind and solar needs to be accompanied by greater system flexibility, to balance the demand and supply in real-time.

Sector integration is the key to enhancing flexibility and enabling a more energy- and cost-efficient energy system. By connecting and combining energy carriers and sectors, including electricity and heat, we can create a more resilient and flexible energy system.

Fortunately, there is already an effective toolbox available for sector integration. District energy networks, when combined with large heat pumps and thermal storage, can absorb substantial amounts of renewable heat and variable green electricity, making them a critical component of our decarbonisation efforts.

The workshop will explore the policy needs to enable system integration beyond the Fit for 55 Package. Through concrete examples of three EU-funded projects, the workshop will show that it is possible to achieve greater flexibility and resilience of energy systems.