Objectives of the service
EPOS provides an energy planning software-as-a-service solution for energy planning in cities, enabled by Earth Observation data.
Renewing our energy systems of buildings and cities is a challenge and consists of millions of transformation projects. Those projects can be quite small, such as installing a photovoltaic (PV) system on a building rooftop, or very big, such as transforming entire cities to become carbon neutral. These kinds of projects involve many stakeholders and require the evaluation of many different options. Data on energy inventory and information on the renewable energy potentials is the foundation for designing new energy systems and evaluating ideas for CO2-neutrality.
EPOS supports decision makers in city-level energy projects, digitally empowers engineers during the analysis, conceptualisation and preplanning phases, and comes out of the box with the needed first level data for decision support.
Users and their needs
The targeted customers are planners and decision makers in the context of big energy projects (e.g. climate neutral districts, power grids). These experts work in cities and their partnering institutions: energy service providers, energy utilities and grid operators throughout Europe.
These stakeholders have one key job in common: prepare, plan and realise energy projects which are essential to reach climate neutrality within the next 25 years.
Their needs are - to a large extent - very similar and involve:
- Collection of energy relevant data that describe the current status quo on building level (e.g. electricity and heating demand, isolation, etc.)
- Assess and evaluate the local renewable potentials from technical, ecological and economic perspectives.
- Explore, develop and compare different options on how to become CO2 neutral. Typical options considered in this task are expansion of heat and power grids, installation of renewable generators and storage capacity, increasing efficiency in buildings, etc.
- Discuss and communicate the options with different local stakeholders in order to gain acceptance.
- In further steps: detailed planning and implementation.
These needs are where greenventory comes into play, as it is clear that such complex, iterative and highly data-dependent projects can profit vastly from the use of a software solution. Hence, the value proposition of EPOS is:
- Time and cost savings through automation in data collection and planning
- Transparent, user-specific insights into the own energy system
- Fast evaluation of multiple (supply) options / technologies
- Risk-reduction of expensive, wrong decisions
- More efficient communication
- Faster project (and process) execution
- Enabling do-it-yourself / easy to use
Service/ system concept
EPOS supports energy decision making on three levels:
- Inventory of the current energy system in terms of genera (building)l structure, demand typology, and installed renewable capacity
- Assessment of renewable energy potentials for PV, Wind, Biomass
- Energy system models and planning algorithms to enable the planning of the transformation of CO2 neutral buildings, areas and cities and the energy infrastructure to reach it.
The EPOS system merges and transforms data and outputs actionable insights for energy planning. For a selected region data is collected via API queries. The data comes from EO services, statistical datasets and geodata from mapping services like OSM. Then the data is preprocessed and combined into a harmonised database. Now the cleaned and harmonised data is used in energy models to calculate the needed energy data such as wind power potentials, buildings energy demands and specific unit costs. The results can be assessed via a web UI and further used to perform more detailed energy planning. Which is supported within the EPOS platform.
Space Added Value
By using and combining different space assets the analysis of renewable energy potentials can be done globally and within minutes. The same goes for an inventory of the energy system, which can then be refined by user input. EPOS is applicable globally and comes out of the box with the data needed to get going. EPOS uses and combines: CORINE, ERA5, CORDEX as well as SPOT and Pleiades from the copernicus contributing missions. Climate data (ERA5 and CORDEX) and landcover data (CORINE) are used to spatially evaluate the feasibility and yield of different types of renewable energy technology. Visual datasets like SPOT and Pleiades are used to detect buildings, PV systems or solar thermal collectors.
We held a series of 10 deep user interviews to derive personas, needs and jobs to be done within the feasibility study. Furthermore, we conducted over 150 sales interviews in the same time span to evaluate willingness to pay and iterate over potential pricing models. We did wireframing and user testing with 10 expert users to evaluate customer attractiveness. We did P.U.R.E. testing with 5 design experts to evaluate and improve the UX/UI of the SaaS product.
We evaluated the use of space data in the context of a real live energy planning project using it for:
- estimation of wind power potentials
- estimation of pv potential
- estimation of biomass
- detection of existing pv and solar thermal systems
- detection of building and roof parameters
- analysis of energy demand structure
All evidence shows that EPOS is needed and feasible.