Modelling the Italian household sector at the municipal scale: Micro-CHP, renewables and energy efficiency
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SubjectMicroturbines; Stirling engines; Solar energy technologies; Fuel cells; Heat pumps; Internalisation of CO2 emissions
This study investigates the potential of energy efficiency, renewables, and micro-cogeneration to reduce household consumption in a medium Italian town and analyses the scope for municipal local policies. The study also investigates the effects of tourist flows on town's energy consumption by modelling energy scenarios for permanent and summer homes. Two long-term energy scenarios (to 2030) were modelled using the MarkAL-TIMES generator model: BAU (business as usual), which is the reference scenario, and EHS (exemplary household sector), which involves targets of penetration for renewables and micro-cogeneration. The analysis demonstrated the critical role of end-use energy efficiency in curbing residential consumption. Cogeneration and renewables (PV (photovoltaic) and solar thermal panels) were proven to be valuable solutions to reduce the energetic and environmental burden of the household sector (−20% in 2030). Because most of household energy demand is ascribable to space-heating or hot water production, this study finds that micro-CHP technologies with lower power-to-heat ratios (mainly, Stirling engines and microturbines) show a higher diffusion, as do solar thermal devices. The spread of micro-cogeneration implies a global reduction of primary energy but involves the internalisation of the primary energy, and consequently CO2 emissions, previously consumed in a centralised power plant within the municipality boundaries.
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