Optimisation and integration of district heating and power networks in the UK
Salman Siddiqui, UCL Energy Institute
Several options exist to decarbonise heat demand in the built environment, some which include a high degree of electrification of low temperature heat demand. With the high level of electrification, it is expected that a large share of this will be of renewable origin which is generally intermittent.
District heating networks are a technology that allow centralised heat generation to be distributed and allows a more diverse range of heat sources to be used taking advantage of the efficiency and economy of scale as well as the integration of thermal energy storage due to its potential in peak load shifting.
Integration of heat and power networks are an encouraging opportunity to manage and mitigate temporal imbalances of supply and demand in energy systems with a high fraction of intermittent renewables such as wind energy.
Supply and demand follow different patterns in different domains and integrating them can lead to synergies in generation, storage and consumption. Resulting in a higher reliability, flexibility and efficiency for the enegy system. As district heating is a distribution technology, CHP units and heat pumps are not mutually exclusive but the operation schedule is critical and heat storage provides a level of flexibility between the two.
Both the carbon intensity and cost of power generated hour by hour will vary depending on the amount of renewable generation available and stored.
Hence the size of heat stores to minimise fossil fuel usage and to economise district heating plant operation will be critical.