The effect of increased coupling strength between electricity and heating systems in different climate scenarios for Europe

Smail Kozarcanin*, Gorm Bruun Andresen*

*Corresponding author af dette arbejde

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Over the last two centuries, the growth of fossil fuel combustion is the dominant cause of the increasing concentration of CO 2 in the atmosphere. Timely mitigation strategies are therefore important and can be achieved through energy system transformation, but time is limited. We investigate into sector coupling as a first step towards a carbon neutral energy economy by imposing additional synergy between the European electricity and heating systems. Because future climate change is unpredictable, we follow three reconstructed concentration pathways (RCP2.6, RCP4.5 and RCP8.5) from the IPCC AR5 covering the years 2000–2100. Three-hourly time series of the national wind and solar capacity factors, electricity and space heat consumption, and coefficient of performance of heat pumps were generated from climate change affected weather data from an ensemble of nine climate models. By using a greenfield cost-optimisation approach, we find that net zero-emission scenarios as, e.g., by the end-century of RCP26 result in extremely electrified energy systems, which almost doubles the system costs compared to historical levels. Carbon intensive pathways as, e.g., the end-century of RCP8.5 result in fossil-fuel dominated energy systems with significant cost reductions. Independent of the climate outcome, the cost of a strongly coupled system is comparable to that of a weakly coupled system. This result states the importance of transforming energy systems towards higher electrification even if strong coupling technologies such as heat pumps and combined heat and power plants are not implemented at large scale.

TidsskriftEnergy and Climate Change
StatusUdgivet - dec. 2021


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