How heat pumps and thermal energy storage can be used to manage wind power: a study of Ireland

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Although energy for heating and cooling represents the largest proportion of demand,little progress towards meeting environmental targets has been achieved in thesesectors. The recent rapid progress in integrating renewable energy into the electricitysector however, can help in decarbonising heat by electrification. This paperinvestigates the impacts and benefits of heat electrification in a wind dominated marketby considering two options; with heat pumps, and with direct electric heating, bothoperated with energy storage. The Irish all-island electricity market is used as a casestudy. Modelling results reveal the significant potential of heat pump electrification,delivering at least two and three times less carbon emissions respectively, whencompared with conventional options such as gas or oil for 20% of domestic sector of theAll Ireland market. Heat electrification using direct, resistive heating systems is found tobe the most carbon intensive method. Energy storage systems combined with heatpumps could deliver potentially significant benefits in terms of emissions reductions,efficient market operation and mitigating the impacts of variable renewable energy onbaseload generation. The main barrier to heat electrification in the all island market isthe absence of appropriate policy measures to support relevant technologies.
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - 15 Aug 2018


  • heat electrification
  • heat pumps
  • direct resistive heating
  • thermal storage
  • electricity market model

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