Virtual power plant evaluation tool and dashboard
Promoting energy efficiency and renewable energy use in businesses
Buildings are responsible for 40% of energy consumption in the European Union.
Motivating businesses to invest in energy efficiency and renewables is a significant challenge for public authorities.
An important first step is increasing awareness of energy consumption and the opportunities to create savings.
Urban Foresight was commissioned by Durham County Council to develop an innovative evaluation tool to influence behaviours and support more conscious energy decisions.
This formed part of the Locarbo project, a Interreg Europe programme to increase energy efficiency and the use of renewables in the built environment.
The tool also acted as summative evaluation report for the projects in County Durham funded by Locarbo. This required the tool to report on two indicators: number of enterprises receiving support, and estimated greenhouse gas reductions.
These were assessed by reviewing project monitoring data on the number of businesses engaged, broken down by the intervention support they received and by analysing pre- and post-intervention energy consumption.
Using PowerBI we developed an engaging dashboard tool that reported on:
- Headline indicators: aggregated totals for the tool’s four headline metrics of kgCO2e saved, kWh of energy saved, £ of bills saved by businesses, FTE jobs safeguarded.
- Impact on the UK national grid: breakdown of CO2 savings by intervention type and each PA4b programme, the cost effectiveness (£/tonne CO2) by intervention type and PA4b programme, and the % reduction in total daily UK CO2 emissions from energy generation.
- Cost effectiveness comparisons to renewable energy: breakdown of energy savings by intervention type and each PA4b programme, the cost effectiveness (£/kWh) by intervention type and PA4b programme, and a comparison to 2018 energy generation from wind power.
- Business impacts and value for money: breakdown of average financial savings by intervention type and each PA4b programme, the cost effectiveness (£/FTE) by intervention type and PA4b programme.
The report accompanying the Virtual Power Station tool also included a series of recommendations. Firstly, there were recommendations on improving the pilot roll-out across the EU. Secondly, Durham County Council was advised on how to better plan future evaluations and improve the way monitoring data collected to provide more robustness to future evaluations for this and other similar programmes.
Image credit: Nuno Marques