Based on a new study, titled Sector Coupling in Facilitating Integration of Variable Renewable Energy in Cities , the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA)’s Yong Chen and Dolf Gielen summarise the potential for sector coupling in cities.

In December 2021, the European Commission tabled the Energy Performance of Buildings Directive (EPBD) which should accelerate the decarbonisation of buildings. Buildings and cities play a key role in the energy transition. And the target high shares of variable renewable power supply will be much more easily achieved if the sectors using them display demand flexibility. In essence, that means using or storing the excess wind and solar generation intelligently.

In this article, the authors draw attention to the smart charging of EVs, thermal power storage for heating and cooling, and making hydrogen. They give the example of the State Grid Corporation of China, which serves 80% of the population. It has established an integrated platform for various EV charging facilities, networks and operators and large commercial clients. The authors also point at their modelling tools and pilot studies which are showing that, depending on the specifics, the renewable share of total final energy consumption can be doubled if sector coupling strategies are implemented successfully.

High VRE needs system flexibility

To reach net-zero emission of carbon dioxide by mid-century, electricity from variable renewable energy (VRE) such as solar PV and wind power is expected to scale up from the current 10% of the global […]

Image credit: