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Flexible Sector Coupling

  • Annex 35
  • Currently running
  • Energy storage in energy systems


The main input of renewable energy in our future energy system will come from wind and PV, which supply renewable electricity to our grids. Reaching higher shares of fluctuating renewables in the grids may cause a variety of problems. In order to avoid this and at the same time to even further increases the share of renewables in the system, renewable electricity can be distributed to other sectors, mainly the heating (and cooling) and the mobility sector.

The figure above shows the coupling of the three sectors electric, thermal (heating and cooling) and mobility, which can be realised by different technologies like power-to-gas or power-to-heat. Each sector can have its own direct renewable input. However, most of the expected input will come from the electricity sector.

By coupling the sectors, the demand pattern of the “consuming” sectors, “thermal” and “mobility”, can help to better utilise renewable electricity. By implementing energy storage technologies between the sectors, where the energy has to be transformed (e.g. into heat and cold) or stored (for mobility applications), the match of fluctuating supply and demand can be managed. The figure below shows the flexible sector coupling approach.

By the implementation of energy storage technologies, like thermal, chemical or electrical storage, renewable electricity can be available on demand in the thermal and mobility sector. This can relieve local distribution grids and raise the usable share of renewables in general.

Furthermore storage technologies on the thermal side are in most cases less expensive compared to electricity storage. To decouple the availability of wind and PV from the mobility demands synthetic fuels for an efficient storage solution for the coupling of the electricity and the mobility sector.

The advantages of “Flexible Sector Coupling by Energy Storage Implementation”:

  • Energy Storage is able to increase the share of renewables in the heat and mobility sector
  • Energy Storage can provide flexibility to all sectors (‘renewables on demand’)

The main goal of the annex is to clarify the possibilities and the impact of energy storage implementation in sector coupling.

For more information, please contact: mr. Andreas Hauer or mr. Amadeus Teuffel.

If you are interested in this annex, also note the second task definition workshop on the 3rd of October 2018.

This Annex is currently in the preparation phase.

Draft work plan Flexible Sector Coupling

Operating agent(s)

  • Andreas Hauer
  • ZAE Bavarian Center for Applied Energy Research, Germany


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