Modelling the local energy transition

This project with the ETH Zürich develops an Urban-Scale Energy Modeling (USEM) tool to enable cities to model different energy scenarios for their city and hence improve the energy planning.

Cities are at the forefront of climate action. They are directly responsible for around two-thirds of global final energy use as well as for significant indirect consumption of energy through other goods and materials. Furthermore, cities are also exposed to the highest risks due to unavoidable climate impacts. Coastal cities may actually face the most severe threat since their foundation as potentially faster than expected sea level rise may convert today’s land into inhabitable regions. Making the energy sector more efficient and more resilient is therefore at the heart of the global effort to deal with the climate emergency.

To remain at the forefront of climate action and sustainability, city governments seek to propose robust policies that roll out renewable energy-driven systems. However, the lack of appropriate tools for evidence-based renewable-based urban energy planning impedes the transition towards a low- or zero-carbon future. The aim to develop an Urban-Scale Energy Modeling (USEM) tool can provide this guidance on identifying the most economical, reliable, and environmentally transition pathways. The CityEnergyAnalyst (CEA) is one of the leading open-source USEM tools and will therefore be further updated. It has been developed at ETH Zürich and the Future Cities Laboratory in Singapore. 

In a first phase this project estimates minimum data necessary for reliable and representative energy demand modeling, and how can missing data be substituted best to capture data-poor environments sufficiently. We further support the ETH Zürich to establish a network of universities being "change agents" for the local energy transition of their cities.