Formation and continuation of thermal energy community systems: An explorative agent-based model for the netherlands

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Energy communities are key elements in the energy transition at the local level as they aim to generate and distribute energy based on renewable energy technologies locally. The literature on community energy systems is dominated by the study of electricity systems. Yet, thermal energy applications cover 75% of the total energy consumption in households and small businesses. Community-driven initiatives for local generation and distribution of thermal energy, however, remain largely unaddressed in the literature. Since thermal energy communities are relatively new in the energy transition discussions, it is important to have a better understanding of thermal energy community systems and how these systems function. The starting point of this understanding is to study factors that influence the formation and continuation of thermal energy communities. To work towards this aim, an abstract agent-based model has been developed that explores four seemingly trivial factors, namely: neighborhood size, minimum member requirement, satisfaction factor and drop-out factor. Our preliminary modelling results indicate correlations between thermal community formation and the 'formation capability' (the percentage of households that joined) and with the satisfaction of households. No relation was found with the size of the community (in terms of number of households) or with the 'drop-out factor' (individual households that quit after the contract time).

Original languageEnglish
Article number2829
Number of pages22
Issue number11
Publication statusPublished - 2020


  • Agent-based modelling and simulation
  • Critical factors
  • Energy community
  • Formation and continuation
  • Thermal energy systems

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