Exploiting Power-to-Heat Assets in District Heating Networks to Regulate Electric Power Network

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New green energy policies are encouraging district heating (DH) companies to exploit heat production by power-to-heat (P2H) assets, e.g., heat pumps (HPs) and electric boilers (EBs). Therefore, they are shifting to exploit these assets in their distribution network besides the traditional central combined heat and power (CHP) units in their production chain. It will lead to an increasingly complex interaction between DH networks and electricity markets. This article proposes an economic model predictive control (EMPC) framework to investigate how DH companies can manage this extra complexity and if they can contribute in an efficient way towards balancing the production and consumption of electric power in smart grids through playing in the reserve capacity markets. The framework is applied to a real world case study and the results are discussed. The results show the new paradigm increases operation costs. However, reserving a part of the capacity for playing in reserve capacity market will not only make up for the extra costs to some extent, but also improve the capability of providing regulating power.

Original languageEnglish
Article number9292988
JournalI E E E Transactions on Smart Grid
Issue number3
Pages (from-to)2048-2059
Number of pages12
Publication statusPublished - 2021


  • Cogeneration
  • Companies
  • District heating systems
  • EMPC
  • Heat pumps
  • Heating systems
  • Optimization
  • Production
  • Resistance heating
  • optimization
  • power regulation
  • power-to-heat assets.


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