Comparison of a Direct Line System and a Renewable Energy Community on the Basis of a Pilot Plant in Thannhausen

Pratter, Robert and Nacht, Thomas and Ruby, Martin (2022) Comparison of a Direct Line System and a Renewable Energy Community on the Basis of a Pilot Plant in Thannhausen. Mobility, Knowledge and Innovation Hubs in Urban and Regional Development. Proceedings of REAL CORP 2022, 27th International Conference on Urban Development, Regional Planning and Information Society. pp. 175-184. ISSN 2521-3938

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With the renewable energy directive of the European Commission the path has been set toward more emancipated end consumers in the energy system, by allowing shared energy use schemes such as renewable energy communities. These were transposed into national law in Austria in July 2021. But even before that, energy could be shared between a producer/prosumer and one or multiple users via a so-called direct line or direct line system. While the technical and legal requirements for operating a direct line (system) are a major barrier to overcome, direct line (systems) have for a long time been the only means to exchange renewable energy between different buildings in the Austrian energy system. In the municipality of Thannhausen such a direct line system with multiple end users has been installed and is in a test phase since September 2021. During the implementation of the direct line system the legal framework for energy sharing has changed and renewable energy communities have been introduced in Austria. The question arose, whether the direct line system can compete with renewable energy communities. In this paper a comparison between these two types of energy sharing schemes, a direct line system and a renewable energy community is made on basis of the Thannhausen pilot. As mentioned before, in Thannhausen, a direct line system, consisting of multiple direct lines to connect eight consumers with one photovoltaic generator was built. For the same configuration a renewable energy community was investigated by means of a simulation model. Even if it might seem, that the direct line system is outdated by the new possibilities which are provided by the renewable energy communities, a closer look showed, that both systems have their advantages and disadvantages. For the direct line system structural measures are necessary, which result in a certain amount of investment costs which are higher than for a renewable energy community, where the public grid is used. In contrast to that, no grid fees have to be paid for the energy distributed via the direct line system. Another advantage of the direct line system is the possibility of an islanding-mode in case of a disruption of the public grid. However, it always depends very much on the initial situation. Direct line systems are an attractive solution only in cases where the consumers are located closely to each other, so that the digging effort is manageable. In case of the Thannhausen pilot, the evaluation showed, that the direct line system enables similar savings for the participants to a renewable energy community, when the subsidies granted are taken into account. Since there are no grid fees for the direct line system, a higher feed-in tariff is made possible for the municipality, which amortises the higher investment costs, so that the direct line system has even the higher net present value at the end of the period under consideration.

Item Type: Article
Uncontrolled Keywords: energy sharing, micro grid, renewable energy community, pilot plant, direct line system
Subjects: G Geography. Anthropology. Recreation > GB Physical geography
G Geography. Anthropology. Recreation > GE Environmental Sciences
Depositing User: The CORP Team
Date Deposited: 10 Nov 2022 11:05
Last Modified: 18 Dec 2022 14:16

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