The second life for gas: optimizing decentralized load balancing through the use of locally available gas resources

Frank Pierie, Wim van Gemert

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The European Union is striving for a high penetration of renewable energy production in the future energy grid. Currently, the EU energy directive is aiming for 20% renewable energy production in the year 2020. In future plans the EU strives for approximately 80% renewable energy production by the year 2050. However, high penetration of wind and solar PV energy production, both centrally and de-centrally, can possibly destabilize the electricity grid. The gas grid and the flexibility of gas, which can be transformed in both electricity and heat at different levels of scale, can help integrate and balance intermittent renewable production. One possible method of assisting the electricity grid in achieving and maintaining balance is by pre-balancing local decentralized energy grids. Adopting flexible gas based decentralized energy production can help integrate intermittent renewable electricity production, short lived by-products (e.g. heat) and at the same time minimize transport of energy carriers and fuel sources. Hence, decentralized energy grids can possibly improve the overall efficiency and sustainability of the energy distribution system. The flexibility aforementioned, can potentially give gas a pivotal role in future decentralized energy grids as load balancer. However, there are a lot of potentially variables which effect a successful integration of renewable intermittent production and load balancing within decentralized energy systems. The flexibility of gas in general opens up multiple fuel sources e.g., natural gas, biogas, syngas etc. and multiple possibilities of energy transformation pathways e.g. combined heat and power, fuel cells, high efficiency boilers etc. Intermittent renewable production is already increasing exponentially on the decentralized level where load balancing is still lacking.
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages1
Publication statusPublished - 20 Feb 2013
EventEuropean Gas Technology Conference 2013: Imagine gas innovation - Salons Hoche, Paris, France
Duration: 30 May 201331 May 2013


ConferenceEuropean Gas Technology Conference 2013
Abbreviated titleEGATEC 2013
Internet address


  • energy


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