Distributed electricity supply in the built environment. Evaluation of system innovation

12-05-2009 | Publication

Local sustainable electricity production technologies as well as technologies with high domestic electricity demand are generally expected to develop in the long run and largely affect the local electricity networks.

Distributed sustainable electricity systems are a realistic option to ensure a sustainable, affordable and secure energy supply, but systemic, technical and institutional adaptations are required for their further development. Moreover, distributed production systems do not necessarily offset the opportunities that can be met with central production options. Developing a distributed electricity network, with high levels of local electricity production as well as demand, could lead to significant reductions in environmental pressure, but high investments are required, while security of supply remains a function of reliability of electricity production and network control.

Domestic electricity demand becomes generally higher, largely due to electric cars and heat pumps. Depending on car loading patterns, the daily demand profiles may become more pronounced. These developments may be accommodated by improved interlinkages between production and consumption, thus elaborating a distributed electricity network. Such interlinkages require the articulation of consumers in a role of co-producers, while network balancing shifts from top-down control to a bottom-up balancing activity.