By coupling electricity and district heating (DH) networks, so-called energy hubs (EH) are generated. Those have the potential to include more renewable energy sources, depending on local conditions regarding supply and demand. This paper presents a novel approach by matching the heat demand of residential and commercial buildings with local renewable heat sources and by considering the development of the building stock with the spatial and capacitive DH potential through the aid of a geographic information system-based analysis for the Swiss Canton of Zurich. By identifying suitable DH areas, primarily supplied by non-renewable energy carriers, are assigned to renewable heat sources. This method allows to explore the possible bandwidth and key factors of the potential for future scenarios until 2050, related to developments of DH technology and policy efforts regarding buildings directives. The results show that high-temperature (HT) DH could be doubled, and that the EH potential is quantified at 3.75 TWhth/a for 2020 (five times the current value) and 3.25 TWhth/a for 2050, in the same scenario.
Keywords Energy hubs, District heating, Distributed multi-energy systems, Bottom-up modeling, Geographic information system, Spatial analysis