Renewable energy communities: do they have a business case in Flanders?

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Renewable energy communities (RECs) are prominent initiatives to provide end consumers an active role in the energy sector, raise awareness on the importance of renewable energy (RE) technologies and increase their share in the energy system thus reducing greenhouse gas emissions. The economic viability of RECs though, depends on multiple interdependent factors that require careful examination for each individual context. This study aims at investigating the impact of electricity tariffs, ratio of electrification of heating and transportation sectors, prices of RE technologies and storage systems, and internal electricity exchange prices on the annual cost for electricity provision of a REC. A mixed-integer linear model is developed to minimize energy provision costs for a representative REC in Flanders, Belgium. The results indicate that RECs have the potential to reduce these costs by 10 to 26% compared to business-as-usual. This cost reduction depends on the type of electricity tariffs and the level of uptake of flexible assets such as heat pumps and electric vehicles. The shift towards a higher power component in the electricity tariff makes electricity storage systems more attractive, which leads to higher electricity self-consumption. The introduction of flexible assets adds the possibility to shift demand when tariffs are lower and makes larger sizes of photovoltaic systems economically viable due to the increase in the total electricity demand. However, RECs cost reduction compared to individual smart-homes amounts to only 4% - 6% in the best cases. Uncertainties stemming from the regulation and the costs of setting up a REC may reduce the estimated benefits.
Originele taal-2English
Aantal pagina's29
StatusPublished - 10 feb 2022


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