Methodological review of co-simulation approaches for complex urban energy system planning

Comparing different co-simulation approaches shows that a simple test case already contains a high degree of complexity. The test case implements the following technologies and networks: thermal and electrical networks, divers consumers and building typology, a combined heat power plant and dynamically fluctuating thermal and electrical resources.

Tight coupling and loose coupling methods will be compared. The co-simulation will be mainly conducted on two existing open source tools: Mosaik (Faschang 2015) and OpenBuildNet (Gorecki 2015). Several simulation tools based on a range of technology (Matlab, Python, proprietary and black-box like software) will be used for different parts of the test case with various communication protocols and link set-up configurations. Results and implementation process will be discussed as well as needed precision for control strategies and operation constraints integration in technologies models.

Current leading concepts and technologies for district heating and cooling systems involve being an integrated part of the operation of more and more complex and smart urban energy systems. It implies that technologies and components of heating and cooling systems need to be designed and operated along with power grid and natural gas networks. These complex urban energy systems include conversion technologies and largely distributed and various energy sources (Lund 2014).

Moreover, coordinating planning, design and operation in the electricity and district heating and cooling sectors can create energy savings synergies in energy systems (Thellufsen 2015). While attempting to calculate such effects, synergies and interactions for a large complex urban energy system an advanced multidisciplinary approach is needed to overcome difficulties in modeling correctly real phenomena (Manfren 2011).

As explained by (Palensky 2014), such complex energy systems will be composed of a large variety of technologies and applications. The diverse nature of these components, their interlinked topology, and the sheer size of the system lead to an unprecedented level of complexity. The needed information and communication technologies, control components and operating strategies form along with other physical processes and components an even more complex and multidisciplinary system.