Techno-economic evaluation of utility business models in cellular structures
January 2017 until December 2020
"Smart Energy Showcases - Digital Agenda for the Energy Transition" (SINTEG)
of German Federal Ministry for Economics and Energy (BMWi)
Project Manager at the Institute of Networked Energy Systems:
The C/sells project is based on the idea of combining infrastructure cells into an organism in which economic opportunities, technological necessities and the aim for sustainable operation are harmonized. The C/sells project aims to span an east-west solar arc of flexibility from Bavaria via Hesse to Baden-Württemberg. This cellular structure, which supports joint actions within and between the cells and also across borders, leads to a robust energy infrastructure.
The DLR sub-project is motivated by the fact that the household electricity price and the feed-in tariff for solar power reached parity. This makes self-consumption increasingly attractive for the prosumers. The resulting reduction in electricity purchases in the area of a utility or in a cell promotes changes in the existing utility business models. Under the new conditions, financing the grid infrastructure with grid fees in the electricity tariff would depend mainly on the revenues from "pure" electricity consumers as well as on adjusted grid fees. With the increased penetration of PV in the solar arc, both business models and regulatory frameworks require a new orientation to be able to cover electricity requirements reliably and cost-effectively. The analysis of the cells, their size, required flexibility options and the technology mix used within them can provide answers to the question of which business models can be profitable for utilities and financially attractive for both electricity consumers and prosumers. In this context, it is important to consider the impacts such a cellular structure can exert to the overall energy system as well as the possible adaptations which will be necessary to the market structures.