The styles of power generation and utilization are changing. Firstly, large scale application of renewable energy based generation units brings clean environment benefit to consumers while the associated fluctuating power challenges the system security. The lack of good storage options has plagued utility operators for generations obligated to provide a steady supply of electricity to meet constantly varying demand. Secondly, Power-to-gas (P2G) technology represents a megawatt-level energy storage solution to the problem of surplus energy from the renewables. The P2G technology converts electrical power to fuel and then hold reserve in the natural gas networks. Together with the mature application of gas fired combined heat and power (CHP) plants, the emerging P2G technology makes it possible to closely integrate the two previously independent main energy carriers, the power grid and the gas network, with bi-directional energy flow. Thirdly, the district heating/cooling systems can play the role as the manageable load. Such integration of gas, heating/cooling and electricity presents good potential to deal with renewable power fluctuation, to maximize the utilization of renewable energy, to reliably supply electric, heating/cooling and gas load.
The main purpose of the project is to provide comprehensive solutions to the system planning and operation strategy of the future energy distribution systems with multiple energy carriers. There are two working packages (WPs) in this project. WP1 will develop the method and relevant tools for planning cost effective and reliable energy systems with multiple carriers to improve utilization of renewable energies. WP2 is to develop the real-time system operation strategy to continuously meet the energy consumers’ demand on electricity, heating and gas with minimized fuel, greenhouse emission, as well as the energy delivery and conversion loss.