Transitioning an entire city to climate neutrality is no easy task. At heart is energy management. While local governments can regulate energy usage, incentivize energy efficiency, and encourage behavior shifts, it's hard for cities to get an overview of their overall energy balance and make holistic decisions. ClimateOS’ Energy Model gives that overview.
Figure: left is the scenario editor (demand), right is the energy model that simulates necessary energy production by source (supply).
The Energy Model in ClimateOS is a feature that helps cities create a holistic view of their energy consumption and production. By taking into account both the demand and supply side of the equation, the Energy Model helps cities adjust the energy mix and create viable scenarios for their energy usage.
Scenario building for energy demand
There are many moving parts in city climate planning. To that end, ClimateOS offers local scenario simulation for future resource use - i.e shifting from fossil fuels to renewable energies.
Let’s look at an example: If a city increases the number of buildings that are heated using district heating, it will result in an increase in energy demand, e.g. electricity for heat pumps or biomass for heat production. The supply could also come from residual heat from industry – or even geothermal. This shifted demand needs to be taken into account when developing climate plans, in order to prepare supply and ensure that the plan is realistic.
In other words: While the city’s planning department connects more buildings to the district heating system, the city’s energy provider needs to ensure that the heat is produced from sustainable resources. ClimateOS visualizations provide an interactive way to engage stakeholders and anticipate changes in energy demand.
Energy balance metric for energy supply
With the scenario builder cities can ensure that there is a balance and no energy shortage in the future. To keep track of the equation, ClimateOS provides an energy balance metric. If the metric is not 100%, it means that there is an imbalance between energy supply and demand. This metric helps cities to identify areas where they can improve their energy efficiency or lower the use of energy overall – such as by making the city more walkable and bikeable. The metric enables one to spot a gap or excess and to readjust one’s targets.
Local data for accurate predictions
The Energy Model is built on the local inventory in ClimateOS. This allows cities to get tailored insights on their future energy use based on an inventory using cities’ local emission factors. This is important because national emissions factors don’t always reflect the local mix, and can paint a picture of a city’s grid that is dirtier than it really is, or the contrary.
The granularity of the data, coupled with a model capable of displaying all the moving parts can show the local interdependencies and trade-offs. This makes it possible to identify areas for improvement – e.g. building solar panels to meet the electricity demand from electric vehicles and heat pumps. Lowering emissions with renewables is a given, but creating urban areas that require less energy-intensive activities, like green space for walking and cycling, is also an option. It's all about the overall energy overview.
Energy management in ClimateOS aims to help cities to be one step ahead in their transition. They can create a holistic view of their energy consumption and production over time and across sectors. With scenario simulation, energy balance metrics, and local emissions, cities can identify areas for improvement ad-hoc, and ultimately make more informed decisions.
Read blog in German here.