Is direct electric heating once again a viable and cost-effective solution for heating single-family houses?

The harsh reality

All forms of burning, including wood burning, result in the production of approximately 900 g/kWh of CO2 emissions. In contrast, nuclear, solar, and wind power have significantly lower emissions, with less than 35 g/kWh. It’s important to note that nuclear waste remains radioactive for an extended period, potentially outlasting the existence of the human race on this planet. In terms of sustainability, wind and solar power are considered the most viable options. However, their availability is subject to natural fluctuations, and currently, only hydro power can effectively regulate the overall grid. While the capacity of hydro power cannot be easily increased, various energy storage systems are being developed to address this fluctuation.

In Finland, over the last few decades, direct electric heating has emerged as the most prevalent heating system in single-family houses. Not only has it required minimal maintenance, but it has also been the lowest-cost option. However, following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, electricity prices have soared during peak hours. Despite this challenge, Finland has significantly expanded its wind power capacity. During periods of strong winds, we have even witnessed surplus electricity, resulting in negative price¬† for kWh hours, leading to the need to dispose of the excess energy.

Is direct electric heating once again a viable and cost-effective solution for heating single-family houses?

Absolutely, direct electric heating can indeed be a cost-effective solution for heating single-family houses, especially if we can circumvent expensive peak hours. The advancement of efficient energy storage technologies plays a crucial role in achieving this goal. By storing surplus electricity generated during periods of high wind power production, it becomes possible to utilize this stored energy during peak hours, thereby mitigating the impact of elevated electricity prices.

One alternative that holds promise is thermal mass storage, such as the Finnshield system. Thermal mass storage solutions allow for the storage of excess heat generated during low-demand periods. This stored heat can then be released and utilized when needed, reducing reliance on expensive electricity during peak hours.

By leveraging efficient energy storage technologies like thermal mass storage, direct electric heating can regain its affordability as a viable heating option for single-family houses. It presents an opportunity to optimize energy usage, minimize costs, and enhance overall energy efficiency.