Thermally activated building structures as flexible assets for electricity markets

Lifecycle Costs & Economic Efficiency Energy Services & Business Models Policy Advice & Energy Economics

Projekt partner

  • IIBW – Institute for Real Estate, Construction and Housing

Projekt discription

The energy transition towards fully renewable sources comes with many challenges. The volatility of wind and PV will increasingly challenge the mechanisms for grid stabilisation in the future and also lead to very dynamic prices on the electricity exchanges. Controllable power plants (e.g. pumped hydro storage) are limited, thus, new storage technologies or flexible end consumers ("demand response") also need to be used to cover demand. In this context, the use of the building sector as a source of flexibility is still not very much on the radar of the energy industry. The e7 energy innovation & engineering and IIBW have conducted a study on behalf of the Austrian Ministry for Climate Protection with the aim of bringing thermally activated building structures (TABS) and underfloor heating on the agenda as a storage option for electricity markets.

Building simulation and optimisation

To follow the research question, e7 set up a complex methodology with a dynamic building simulation. Different reference buildings were modelled with typical U-values, window areas etc. and PV use. The buildings were then simulated over the course of the year, taking into account outdoor temperatures, solar radiation and comfort zones for heating and cooling.

A mathematical optimisation model with heat pump control was then been applied to assess possible load shifting towards making optimal use of varying electricity prices. The monetary benefit of flexibility was then calculated by comparing the uncontrolled scenario (business as usual) with a price-controlled optimised scenario (exchange prices on the day-ahead market with forecast prices and volatilities up to 2040).