A Community Energy Operations and Planning System: Concept, Use cases, Metrics, and Benefits
Community and city leaders are interested in achieving sustainability goals, providing resilient energy infrastructure, and improving economic competitiveness. Community-level data acquisition and analysis can provide energy and associated benefits that are not possible at the single building level. However, there is a lack of organizational structure, common semantic data models, interoperable systems, and methods to support data-driven decision-making for community-scale energy supply and demand systems. We explored the need and opportunity for a Community Energy Operations and Planning System (Community EOPS), a potential data exchange platform. We conducted “customer discovery” interviews, and reviewed literature, public tools, and technology platforms to identify key energy data “users” and use cases in communities. The key users of the Community EOPS could be developers of mixed-use districts, corporate, defense and university campus energy managers, and city managers of cities that own their energy utility. The value could be for community planning and reporting (for energy data-integrated land use planning and community infrastructure investments in microgrids, storage, district heating and cooling), energy efficiency (leveraging optimizations for community scale energy supply and demand), flexible load management (grid-edge load management to offset, shift, and flatten loads for multiple buildings and EV fleets), cost savings and revenue generation (participating in grid services), and social benefits such as energy resilience, equity, and awareness. We developed a conceptual Community EOPS architecture with recommendations for streamlined and prioritized data acquisition, sharing, and integration driven by prioritized use cases, common metrics, and actionable visualizations that can provide value to a community’s users.