• TwitterFacebookLinkedInYoutube

State of the art in policy driven and private-initiative interventions to foster the energy transition and Energy System Modelling

The WHY Project follows the ambitious approach to improve the representation of household electricity demand in Energy System Models by applying a Causal Model to simulate the behaviour of residential consumers that leads to the consumption of electricity. Next to the Causal models, other models to represent energy systems of different scales, appliances within buildings, etc. need to be considered. In order to be able to create all the models making up the WHY Toolkit, research was conducted to identify suitable approaches to tackle the different modelling challenges, which can occur during the creation of the WHY Toolkit. In Deliverable D1.2 the results of the research conducted are presented. Not all the models or other aspects of residential energy consumption will be put into action in the WHY Toolkit. The results presented here are a pool of approaches of which the most relevant ones will be chosen and used further in the WHY project. The decision on which approaches will be chosen will be made in cooperation with the WHY Use Case Managers as part of Task T1.3. The results will be presented in Deliverable D1.3.

A major novelty of the WHY project is the consideration of people’s reaction to external stimuli (intervention) and how these reactions translate to their energy consumption behaviour. In order to better classify and understand these external stimuli, we identified five following  types/categories of policy instruments:

  • Legislative and regulatory instruments
  • Economic and fiscal instruments
  • Agreement based or cooperative instruments
  • Information and communication instruments
  • Knowledge and innovation instruments

These policy instruments differ in how they aim to achieve a certain reaction in the policy targets. To get a better understanding of these instruments, the WHY consortium identified a multitude of national as well as international laws, initiatives, regulations, directives, etc. The purpose of this research was not to obtain an exhaustive list but rather to deepen the knowledge on how the instruments described above are applied in reality. Furthermore, the consortium differentiated between policy action with focus on energy, policy actions with focus on transport as well as business initiatives with focus on energy and business initiatives with focus on transport.

As for the policy actions with focus on energy, a total of 71 different actions from 6 different countries and 3 different international scales have been identified. Most of them are related to the sector of energy efficiency. Of these 71 actions, a total of 23 were legislative or regulatory actions and 21 co-operative instruments. 

In the segment of policy actions with focus on transport, a total of 29 different actions have been identified. Most of them can be related to Spain (due to the origin of the consortium member conducting the research). The researched actions had a strong focus on sustainable mobility as well as pedestrian mobility and public transport strategies. 

In contrast to the policy actions, business initiatives have economic benefits as targets and are developed and initiated by businesses rather than public authorities. For the section of business initiatives with focus on energy, a total of 18 actions have been identified, whereas for the section with a focus on transport, only three actions were identified. 

The research conducted provides the WHY consortium with a better understanding of the different interventions that will be relevant for the WHY Toolkit. 

With the analysis of the actions concluded, the next phase was divided into two main parts: (1) Research on approaches for causal models and (2) research on models and approaches of relevance to the residential sector. 

To better structure and classify the different approaches for causal models a taxonomy of the tasks that causal models should carry out is presented and the different libraries to implement causal models and several models have been assessed on these aspects. 

Following the classification and research done for causal models, the next step was to research, analyse and classify the possibilities to address energy related aspects of residential buildings and their inhabitants. The different aspects to be considered are very heterogeneous, thus, no common approach in how to address and treat them could be identified. 

The analysis of models for different scales of energy systems provided a deeper understanding of energy consumption (thermal or electric) in different settings. They often work as a framework where multiple different, more or less detailed models, are included and soft-linked. 10 different already existing models have been analysed and discussed towards their relevance to WHY. The large scale energy system models have been neglected as in the focus of this deliverable are residential buildings (as small scale energy systems) rather than entire countries (as large scale energy systems). This decision is supported by the fact that the large scale energy system models PRIMES and TIMES, to be used in the WHY project, are fixed by the WHY grant agreement.  

In the WHY project the option of shifting loads or using certain loads at certains times is a potential option for residential consumers. But there are certain loads (appliances) that are not available for load shifting due to technical, user behavioural or comfort restrictions. Modelling these loads generally comes down to considering pre-defined load profiles which are applied once the device is activated. 

Another important option that affects the energy consumption of residential users are energy efficiency approaches. For the purpose of the WHY Toolkit two main approaches to increase energy efficiency in the residential sector have been identified:

  • Renovation measures of the building envelope including replacement or upgrade of windows and wall / roof thermal insulation
  • Using appliances with better energy labels and higher energy efficiency

The latter can be represented in models by using new load profiles for non-flexible appliances or improved parameters in technical models of appliances that can be used flexibly. Simulating renovation measures, on the other hand, comes down to changing the technical parameters of buildings (e.g. the U-values of building shells). For this purpose a substantial research of different parameters has been conducted. Different technical parameters for types of insulation, wall material, window types, etc. have been identified and described in detail in this deliverable.

In order to obtain more control over energy consumption and the behaviour of devices, residential consumers can make use of energy management systems (EMS). There are a multitude of different options of EMSs available on the market, that differ in price, applicability and (management) options provided to the user. For this deliverable the WHY consortium provided examples of EMS for three different categories: (1) Open Source, (2) Research and (3) Commercial. The purpose of this research was to create an understanding of the options these EMS provide and thus deduct necessary code elements for the WHY Toolkit rather than obtaining actual code to be used in the WHY Toolkit. 

One of the key options to make residential consumption more flexible is the use of energy storage systems. For this purpose the WHY consortium has identified a wide variety of technologies, from battery storage systems (and subtypes) over thermal storages to mechanical storages. Storage systems are modelled using mathematical equations but there are many different approaches for different technologies available. They differ in degree of detail and time required to solve the underlying equations. A total of 14 different approaches for 5 different storage types have been identified. 

Apart from storage systems, there are certain types of devices that can be controlled by EMS to change their operational behaviour in order to meet certain goals. Amongst those, the Heating Ventilation Air Conditioning Systems (HVAC systems) and Electric Vehicles (EV) are the most relevant for the residential sector. On the one hand, for the HVAC systems different technologies are relevant, for which a multitude of different modelling approaches exist. This deliverable includes a summary of general approaches for the technologies, followed up by a set of libraries with commonly used models for these technologies. On the other hand, for the EV a review of different models approaches for modeling the mobility needs are presented and discussed. In particular Multi Agent Systems, Database models based on Weibull distributions are assessed. 

One of the key changes to the energy system of the past years was the technological advancements in the sector of decentralised generation technologies. They provide residential consumers with the means to generate their own energy for self-consumption or other purposes. Investments in Generation Technologies are a key decision derived from the Causal Model and a key influencing factor when it comes to consumption behaviour, thus it is necessary to consider them in the models of the WHY Toolkit. The following technologies were deemed relevant for the residential sector: (1) PV/Solar generation, (2) Micro-Wind generation and (3) Combined Heat and Power generation (CHP). For the latter, the two different control strategies (electricity-led or heat led) and the different fuels (gas powered, biomass, or hydrogen) were considered. 9 different approaches to model these 3 types of generation technologies have been identified during the research.

The last relevant aspect considered during the work done in Task 1.2 are business models related to energy use in the residential sector. Formerly passive consumers (especially residential consumers) are slowly transitioning to becoming more active participants in the energy system, as suggested by the EU Climate Policy Package. As such new businesses are emerging, which aim at providing new services to residential consumers to generate profits for the businesses and benefits for the residential consumers. The research concluded by the WHY consortium identified the following most relevant business models to be considered in the WHY Toolkit:

  • Energy as a Service
  • Peer-to-Peer electricity Trading
  • Aggregators
  • Community-ownership models
  • Pay-as-you-go models

As a conclusion, the Deliverable D1.2 provides an overview of the different aspects to be considered in the modelling tasks of the WHY project and should provide the reader with a general knowledge on different methodologies and approaches when trying to create a holistic representation of household energy consumption and the underlying decision processes. Finally, the decision on which modelling approaches to use in the further progress of the WHY project will be made during the WHY Use Case discussion in Task 1.3 and will be described in Deliverable D1.3.