Renewable energy communities are a form of collaboration between citizens, SMEs or municipalities, among others, that work together towards the participation on the energy market (for self-consumption, production, etc.). Once the community of stakeholders is formed, most people struggle in finding the combination of technologies scenario that can meet the needs and goals of the community. Usually, establishing a REC requires the identification of the existing energy resources and evaluation of different RES-based system configurations and operation modes to allow the community members to decide how they want to meet their needs, participate in the energy market and bring benefits for the community. In this sense, a planning tool to support local communities on cataloguing present assets and design of RECs will be developed in LocalRES project. 

The LocalRES Planning Tool will provide a set of scenarios representing different trajectories that the REC could follow, with associated indicators as a kind of pre-feasibility studies. The performance of each scenario will be assessed in terms of costs, carbon emissions, sustainability and safety of the REC energy system. 

The Planning Tool will be addressed to:

  • Energy experts and decision makers, such as representatives of the community: the Planning Tool will provide them with a global vision of the REC energy system. The tool will give them the opportunity to design long-term scenarios, and assess the impact of each decision on the global cost and emissions of the system;
  • Citizens of the community: not only will they be able to access the Planning Tool to visualize information on the REC, but they will also be able to assess their individual decisions (for instance, installation of rooftop solar panels) and visualize preliminary impacts, such as changes in the energy costs or emissions reduction.

The Planning Tool will be based on the Artelys Crystal Toolsuite, which is dedicated to the economic optimization and management of energy systems. On top of this tool, several computation modules will be designed to help the information to be accessible and usable by the citizen.

The greatest innovation of the planning tool lies in its double objective: to be used with the participation of the users so that they are part of the REC design, and to offer the users pre-feasibility studies that currently are so difficult to comprehend.