Characterising the operation and flexibility of campus energy systems

Muditha Abeysekera, Xiandong Xu, Alexandre Canet, Jianzhong Wu

18 January 2022

Learnings from a study of two public sector energy systems

Campus energy systems are site-based local energy systems that are usually large users of electricity and heat, such as hospitals or universities. They are complex and typically comprise of multiple energy assets such as renewables energy sources such as solar PV or wind turbines, combined heat and power generation (CHP) units, gas boilers or energy storage. These ‘local energy assets’ are usually controlled ‘behind the meter’ to reduce site energy costs. Collectively, many such campus systems across a region can either reduce or increase power flows in the electricity distribution and transmission networks.

The UK NetZero ambition and the wider power system challenges are driving campus energy systems to reduce their carbon footprint by investing further in renewable generation, low carbon heating and energy storage technologies. There is a significant opportunity for these sites to be active participants in the power system by providing services to support efficient management of the grid.

This paper presents findings from a study of the operational and flexibility characteristics of two campus type public sector energy systems. Electricity and heat supply systems of a hospital and a university campus site, that include on-site renewable generation, natural gas-fired combined heat and power generator units, gas boilers and thermal storage tanks are presented.