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Energies  2011 

Incorporating the Variability of Wind Power with Electric Heat Pumps

DOI: 10.3390/en4101748

Keywords: space heating, extraction-condensing steam turbines, coal-fired CHP, energy carriers, variability of wind power

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Abstract:

With the mass introduction of wind power in Northern China, wind power variability has appeared. In this article, both existing electric heat pumps (EHPs) and coal-fired combined heat and power (CHP) facilities, which are generally equipped with extraction-condensing steam turbines coupled with district heating for space heating purposes, are proposed to incorporate the variability of wind power equivalently. The authors’ proposal arises from the facts that: (1) EHPs can provide space heating in the domestic sector with little thermal comfort change (e.g., energy carriers for space heating purposes can be switched from heating water to electricity); (2) coal-fired CHP units in Northern China can usually generate more electrical power corresponding to a shaved thermal power production. Thus, it is suggested that heating water from CHP units be shaved when the wind generation is low due to the variability of wind power, so as to enable more electrical power production and compensate for the corresponding insufficient wind generation. Following this, in the future and for some space heating loads at appropriate distances, electricity used as energy carrier should be converted by electric heat pumps for space heating. Thus, more electricity consumption will be achieved so as to avoid wasting wind power when the wind generation it is high. A numerical simulation is performed in order to illustrate the authors’ proposal. It is shown that the impact of variability of wind generation can be equivalently reduced to a great extent, which enable more wind power integration instead of curtailment and potential energy conservation. Moreover, in contrast to before, both the thermal and electrical power of coal-fired CHP units are no longer constants. In addition, the ratio of electrical to thermal power of CHP units is no longer constant either, and results in less energy consumption compared with fixed ratio. Finally, electricity consumed by end users’ EHPs, which are devoted to space heating for various spatial distances and time points, is figured out.

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