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Heat pumps in Suburban Areas

October 26, 2012 | PowerMatcher, Heat pumps, ECN,

Heat pumps in Suburban Areas

One of the challenges of the near future for a more renewable Dutch electricity infrastructure is the embedding of high concentrations of heat pumps in currently built domestic residences. In the Dutch situation demand of electricity occurs simultaneously with demand of heat, high electricity peak loads in the low voltage network are expected. Uncommonly for the Netherlands, in certain newly built areas there is no opportunity for a gas infrastructure.

The power of the heat pump is typically 2.2 kW and the power of the electric resistance heating, which is available as a backup for cold days, is 6 kW. The peak power exceeds the power of 1.1 kVA, which is a characteristic value for a Dutch household at the distribution level. To facilitate such a newly built residential area, network distribution companies had to design an electricity network where electric power is served by two local distribution stations of 630 kVA which serve 124 houses equipped with heat pumps. Also an extra track for the medium voltage transmission level had to be constructed, raising total costs to about 1.5 M€. The question was raised whether a smart grid solution could decrease network reinforcements costs.

Research is focussed on domestic residences with high peak loads at substations when heating is provided merely by heat pumps with additional electric resistance heating. Two scenarios are studied: the event of a black start in the electricity system and high electricity demand on a day with a very low outdoor temperature. The simulation is performed with eventually 100 agents representing up to 100 dwellings based on PowerMatcher technology.

The results demonstrate significant peak load reduction can be achieved as shown in the figure below.

In case of a black start PowerMatcher is able to maintain the maximum load at the substation below a certain maximum load as well as on a cold morning. It was also demonstrated this peak load reduction is at the expense of only a small decrease of comfort. Information More information about this study can be found at the smart proofs website and in the ECN newsletter of December 2010.


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