Design of renewable and system-beneficial district heating systems using a dynamic emission factor for grid-sourced electricity

Johannes Röder*, David Beier, Benedikt Meyer, Joris Nettelstroth, Torben Stührmann, Edwin Zondervan

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

17 Citations (Scopus)
77 Downloads (Pure)


In future energy scenarios with a high share of renewable energies within the electricity system, power-to-heat technologies could play a crucial role for achieving the climate goals in the heating sector. District heating systems can integrate volatile wind and photovoltaic energy sources and resolve congestions within the electricity grid, leading to curtailment of renewable electricity generation. This paper presents a design approach for setting up system-beneficial power-to-heat-based district energy systems. Within the scope of the project QUARREE100 an existing district in the provincial town Heide in Northern Germany is examined. A linear investment and unit commitment optimization model is applied. By considering local dynamic emission factors for grid-sourced electricity, which contain information on local wind energy curtailment as well as the emission intensity of the overall electricity generation, a renewable and system-beneficial design can be derived. With this method, the minimal rated power and capacity of energy converter and storage units can be determined to achieve emission reductions with respect to minimum costs. The approach of using different methods for the consideration of the emissions of grid-sourced electricity is analyzed based on different scenarios. By using a dynamic emission factor for grid-sourced electricity, lower emissions with fewer costs can be achieved. It is shown that a dynamic assessment leads to different design decisions and far-reaching deviations in the unit commitment. The results clearly show that a constant emission factor is no longer an option for grid-sourced electricity in urban energy system models.

Original languageEnglish
Article number619
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 1 Feb 2020
Externally publishedYes


  • Congestion management
  • District heating
  • Dynamic emission factor
  • Optimization models
  • Power-to-heat
  • Sector-coupling
  • Urban energy systems


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