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WIREs Energy Environ.
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Matching decentralized energy production and local consumption: A review of renewable energy systems with conversion and storage technologies

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The increasing share of decentralized intermittent renewable energy reinforces the necessity of balancing local production and consumption. Decentralized energy systems, powered by renewable energy technologies and incorporating storage and conversion technologies, are promising options to cope with this challenge. Many studies have evaluated their potential contributions, but an overview of the status‐quo in both academia and practice is missing. The extant literature lacks a comprehensive review of the scientific knowledge on decentralized energy systems, partially attributed to the lack of common terminology. Additionally, it remains unclear what kind of systems are already implemented today worldwide as they have not yet been thoroughly analyzed and described. However, pilot projects provide valuable insights into future applications and operational aspects. To fill these gaps, an extensive review of the current state of literature and practice is conducted. To do so, 64 publications and 56 projects were analyzed and an overview is provided using four criteria: terminology, scope/motivation, application, and technical configuration. These criteria facilitate the understanding of decentralized energy systems needed to spur their development and diffusion. Further advancements of research and practice are discussed. For example, technological learning hinges on a common terminology and on an identification of optimal technical configurations per application. There are both avenues for future research. This article is categorized under: Energy Systems Analysis > Economics and Policy Energy Infrastructure > Systems and Infrastructure Energy and Urban Design > Systems and Infrastructure Energy Research & Innovation > Systems and Infrastructure
Distribution of literature (according to scope, i.e., publication category), and projects (according to motivation, i.e., rationale(s) for implementing). Projects which include more than one category are counted in each category, thus the total sum exceeds the number of publications of our sample
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Process of identifying and screening relevant projects for the practice overview (number of projects)
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Process of collecting and sorting relevant publications for the literature review (number of peer‐reviewed journal articles)
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Distribution of cases (both literature and practice combined) for each application category across frequently occurring technology clusters and share of grid‐independent cases
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Distribution of cases (literature and practice combined) across frequently occurring technology clusters and share of grid‐independent cases. Clusters with two or fewer cases are omitted
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Distribution of test cases, both from literature and pilot projects, across each application category
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Energy Research & Innovation > Systems and Infrastructure
Energy and Urban Design > Systems and Infrastructure
Energy Infrastructure > Systems and Infrastructure
Energy Systems Analysis > Economics and Policy

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