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In this new article, we address the question “What is sector coupling?” and explain what it means. Let’s go! πŸš€

Sector coupling broadly refers to the use and connection of electricity in the heating πŸ”₯, transport πŸš— and industry 🏭 sectors. One could also speak of electrification of sectors that traditionally rely on other resources for energy use. This concept has a great importance when talking about efficiency or energy security but also the deployment of higher amount of renewable energies. In general, sector coupling or sector electrification is referred to as “power-to-X”. Here, X refers to everything where electricity (power) can be used.

The meaning of sector coupling

Power generation based on the sun and wind is referred to as “volatile” in the energy industry. This means that such plants, e.g., solar panels (PV) and wind turbines, are weather-dependent and cannot generate energy continuously. For example, PV systems only produce electricity during the day when it is sunny. β˜€οΈπŸŒ§οΈ

To make particularly effective use of energy generation during these hours, sector coupling measures can be applied. For example, the generated energy from a high number of PV systems in one location can be additionally used for hot water production through sector coupling measures, such as heating water with electricity-based radiators. Thus, electricity serves as a substitute for the traditional resources of natural gas or oil, which have so far been used preferentially for hot water production. Consequently, sector coupling plays a very important role in the implementation of renewable energies.

Sector coupling and flexibility

In the article “What is… Flexibility in the power grid?” we explained the concept of flexibility. Flexibility indicates the degree to which a system can respond to planned and unplanned changes. πŸ«±πŸ½β€πŸ«²πŸ»

As power generation in the future is expected to be based on electricity from renewable sources, flexibility in generation, consumption and trading is essential, as electricity from solar and wind is volatile. Sector coupling can increase the flexibility of supply and demand in a grid that operates a large number of less controllable, more weather-dependent power generation units. This improvement can take the form of thermal energy storage systems, charging and discharging to the grid from electric vehicles (called “vehicle-to-grid” – feeding electricity from an electric vehicle battery back to the grid), among other things.

Do you have any further questions? Then simply contact our experts Evyatar Littwitz and Gerhard Meindl.

We hope that we have been able to give you an understanding of the concept of sector coupling in this “What is…?” article. Continue to stay up to date with us and don’t hesitate to get in touch.

Your Es-geht! Team