We had a chat with Poul Alberg Østergaard (Aalborg University) to learn more about the progress of the project and the planning tool that is currently applied.
Can you explain what is the role of AAU in the project? What is the planning tool?
AAU is in charge of creating an energy planning tool that enables municipal planners test different potential development strategies without necessarily going into full energy systems analyses and scenario making. Thus, the tool targets municipal planners that do not necessarily have degrees in energy or energy planning, but who nonetheless need to be able to assess potential strategies for becoming carbon neutral.
What have been the updates in your work since the beginning of the year? What do you think are the most important results achieved so far?
In 2021, we have finalised the tool and started testing the tool on Oud Heverlee, Osimo and on Eilat. The tool works to our satisfaction, and we are in the process of testing in on the mentioned cases, analysing the interesting interplay between potential changes in transportation, heating and renewable electricity production.
Which are the peculiarities and innovation of MUSE GRIDS Planning Tool and how can it facilitate the creation of energy communities?
The tool simplifies matters as a number of choices are already made for users. In addition, the tool assists users in identifying demands and resource potentials for a given site. Also, the tool automatically connects with a database for hourly production profiles for e.g., wind or photovoltaics, thus users will experience an easier data gathering procedure. In terms of demands, based on Open Street Maps and experience-based data, the tool can help assist thermal demands for a given area. Also, the tool will assess district heating options for the given area given the geography of the area and the distribution of heat demands.
Could you briefly describe how the planning tool is currently applied and which scenario are under investigation on the two MUSE GRIDS demosites (Osimo and Oud-Heverlee)?
The tool is tested with a focus on the electrification or the heating sector combined with the establishment of district heating. Also, other scenarios investigate the effects of an electrification of the transport sector. In both cases, expansion of wind power and photovoltaics are included to ensure renewable electricity for the system.