New energy technologies are gaining rising importance because of climate change and increasing energy demand, and they show an enormous potential to mitigate environmental issues. With the purpose of maximizing the renewable energy utilization, combined heat and power systems are considered more effective, economical, and ecological. However, renewable energy-based combined heat and power systems are still in the development phase. Hence, this study presents a new methodology to produce combined electricity and heat from wind and solar PV systems to meet the energy demand of small, distributed communities. For this scope, an optimization model is developed to exploit rationally the power generation from renewables and meet the electricity and heating demand of two selected communities. The curtailed energy of solar and wind systems is used to produce heat by a thermal load controller combined with a natural gas boiler. The developed model is also integrated with the grid station for energy exchange. This study contributes also to evaluate the economic and environmental feasibility of combined heat and power systems, and determine the best optimal operational strategies to extend the renewable energy utilization and minimize energy costs. The obtained results show that a significant amount of clean energy can be produced, covering the 79% of the energy demand of the selected communities, at the lowest levelized cost of energy of 0.013 €/kWh; meanwhile, the proposed system reduces 4129 tons of CO2 emissions annually.
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