Interaction of energy storage technologies and synthetic fuels in long-term decarbonization scenarios
With the 2015 Paris Climate Agreement, the international community has reaffirmed its commitment to tackle anthropogenic climate change with the goal of limiting the global average temperature increase below 1.5 °C, but to a maximum of 2 °C above pre-industrial levels. Against this background, we examine scenarios for a complete decarbonisation of the European energy supply. Since such scenarios are based on a high expansion of weather-dependent renewable energy sources, the question arises, which flexible technologies are necessary to balance supply and demand in such energy systems. In this paper, a scenario analysis shows which capacity or volume of energy storage, power interconnectors and synthetic fuels are needed in decarbonization scenarios. To address this research question three different energy system models are applied. These models cover Europe and Germany, respectively, and are able to explain different results of the single models based of the corresponding model characteristics. The paper concludes that the power sector is able to cover a considerable share of the energy demand in the heat and transport sector with the help of flexible sector coupling technologies such as heat pumps and electric mobility. All considered models manage to find solutions for a deep decarbonization if flexibility and storage option are available.