Modelling study on the cost-effective geo-location of renewable energy sources and alternative fuel/feedstock facilities and the configuration of energy network infrastructure

The Commission COM(2018)773 ‘A Clean Planet for all – A European strategic long-term vision for a prosperous, modern, competitive and climate neutral economy’ (LTS) presents 8 scenarios for decarbonising the EU economy. In this study we expand the work of the LTS to identify the optimum geo-location of e-fuel facilities, gas infrastructure, storage infrastructure, etc.

The modelling for this study is meant to rely on a full PRIMES model scenario. For each of the main scenarios of the Long-Term Strategy (delivered October 2018), we take as given the projection of demand for energy in the final consumption sectors and the fuel mix, as well as the projections of costs and prices. We employ the PRIMES projections by country. We also take as given the configuration and capacities of the electricity interconnection system, which uses a single node by country, includes multiple interconnection lines AC and DC and evolves over time by scenario. Similarly, we take as given the natural gas infrastructure items (pipelines interconnecting countries, storage facilities and LNG terminals) as in the PRIMES projections. The power and gas networks as in the database of PRIMES cover the entire Europe, not only the EU countries. Taking the geo-located future energy/feedstock uses from the PRIMES modelling for the LTS scenarios as an given input,

  1. Identify the optimum geo-location for:
    • Renewable energy production (photovoltaic, wind, biomass, hydro …), taking into account the levelized costs of renewable energy sources (e.g. solar, wind …), which depend on the geo-location
    • the facilities producing alternative fuels and synthetic energy carriers or feedstock, i.e. electrolysers, methanation plants, e-liquids plants, e-chemical compounds, bio-methane and biofuels plants, synthetic LNG-CNG, etc.;
    • the configuration and adaptation of the electric and gas pipeline infrastructure including the optimal location of injection points for the alternative gaseous products considering technical and security of supply aspects, as well as the need for CO2 feedstock sources;
    • the storage infrastructure (also existing storage for natural gas) for alternative fuels and for power-to-X, which also serve electricity storage (in the power model they act conjointly with other electricity storage technologies, such as batteries, pumping etc.);
    • the configuration of “vehicle transport” networks, regarding liquefaction-compression, transportation by trucks, ships or rail and gasification, for hydrogen and alternative gas mix products;
    • the interplay with electricity and heat infrastructure, considering that the location and topology of electricity and heat networks are given as in the PRIMES model projection;
    • The locational aspects of carbon capture, storage and use chains and their interplay with the rest of the system.
  2. Assess in more detail the sectorial integration and synergies between the power sector, the heating and industrial sectors and the production of synthetic GHG-neutral energy vectors;
  3. Assess the possibility of existing or under construction gas infrastructure networks to become stranded assets and identify potential bottlenecks and requirements for new infrastructure.
  4. Assess the transition steps towards the dominance of alternative fuels regarding the options for a gradual adaptation and extension of infrastructure and the avoidance of lock-ins.
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“The study is carried out for the European Commission and expresses the opinion of the organisation having undertaken them. To this end, it does not reflect the views of the European Commission, TSOs, project promoters and other stakeholders involved. The European Commission does not guarantee the accuracy of the information given in the study, nor does it accept responsibility for any use made thereof.”