This report by International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA) highlights the importance of sector coupling as a key source of flexibility that cities can explore to stabilise power grid operations when integrating high shares of variable renewable energy sources. It presents a range of sector coupling opportunities available for use in cities. In this report, the focus is on four main areas: self-consumption of variable renewable energy sources at various scales, the role of thermal energy storage in sector coupling strategies, electro-mobility (a promising scenario for decarbonising the transport sector with renewable electricity) and green hydrogen.

Quantifying the sector coupling opportunities at a city level requires an integrated approach to model the increasing complexity and interconnectedness of energy systems. The report also introduces a modelling tool to provide quantitative evaluation of sector coupling opportunities in a given context, with a focus on the buildings sector given its importance for achieving net zero cities and communities. Cross-sectoral synergies through sector coupling technologies and trade-off options can be measured against optimisation objectives in different scenarios. The tool was applied in two pilot studies for districts in China and Costa Rica.

Download the report here