Using electricity for heating can contribute to decarbonization and provide flexibility to integrate variable renewable energy. We analyze the case of electric storage heaters in German 2030 scenarios with an open-source electricity sector model. We find that flexible electric heaters generally increase the use of generation technologies with low variable costs, which are not necessarily renewables. Yet making customary night-time storage heaters temporally more flexible offers only moderate benefits because renewable availability during daytime is limited in the heating season. Respective investment costs accordingly have to be very low in order to realize total system cost benefits. As storage heaters feature only short-term heat storage, they also cannot reconcile the seasonal mismatch of heat demand in winter and high renewable availability in summer. Future research should evaluate the benefits of longer-term heat storage.
Power-to-heat Electric heating Renewable energy integration Energy storage Demand-side management Decarbonization Power system model