Regional Energy Self-Sufficiency

Prof. dr. ir. C. Vuik, Technische Universiteit Delft

Local communities increasingly take an active role in the transition to more sustainable and autonomous local energy supply systems, using local energy sources like wind, solar, and biomass. However, this sustainable local energy supply is associated with high fluctuations and uncertainty caused by the intermittency of wind and solar power. To guarantee high reliability of energy supply on the consumer side while being cost effective, increased system integration and flexibility, local energy storage and retrieval, and combining energy forms are called for.
Given the local energy infrastructure of gas, power and heat, and typical local energy demand patterns this research project investigates how an optimal local energy supply system can be designed such that local energy targets can be realized with minimum dependence on the national energy grids. This is not only a technical problem, but also a question of how these local energy systems should be regulated and operated Hence, next to an optimal technical design also an institutional design of local energy systems needs to be developed that addresses its regulation and governance. This requires model and methodology development in two areas. In the first area the focus is on the optimal overall design of the energy supply system and the corresponding required institutions. The research here is on distributed optimization with various investment decisions made by different actors. In the second area the focus is on the simulation and optimization of gas, power and heat flow in their combined networks, for assessing solution uncertainty, sensitivity, and reliability.