Study on Advantageous Autarky Levels for Municipal Energy Systems

Autarky project Copyright: © FCN-ECO

Project duration: 11/2023 – 4/2024

Funded by: E.ON SE

Climate change presents undeniable challenges, necessitating the development of sustainable solutions. The energy transition has emerged as a crucial strategy to combat greenhouse gas emissions, requiring a fundamental shift in how we produce and distribute energy. However, this transformation comes with significant obstacles. Renewable energy sources, such as wind and solar power, exhibit inherent fluctuations that demand a more flexible grid to ensure stability. Moreover, the rise of decentralized energy generation poses the challenge of aligning energy supply with fluctuating demand, necessitating grid improvements. Public acceptance of these changes is paramount, particularly when the localized benefits of renewable energy are evident.

The paradigm of energy distribution is undergoing a significant shift toward cellular approaches, where energy production and consumption are integrated within well-defined regions. Within this context, the concept of energy autarky has gained prominence, wherein regions strive to meet their energy needs independently using locally available resources. Energy communities, consisting of various stakeholders, play a vital role in promoting self-consumption, thereby improving grid utilization, and facilitating efficient grid expansion.

In addition to technical challenges, the economic viability of these changes is crucial for the distribution system operator (DSO), as investments in autarky should be balanced by other positive impacts.

The research project's primary objective is to quantify and determine advantageous levels of autarky based on model regions, evaluating their cost-effectiveness, sustainability, resiliency, and public acceptance. The study explores the driving factors behind energy autarky and establishes a framework for measuring autarky while quantifying its effects through predefined Key Performance Indicators (KPIs).