An Intelligent Decision Support System for Sustainable Energy Local Planning

An Intelligent Decision Support System for Sustainable Energy Local Planning

DOI: 10.4018/978-1-5225-2286-7.ch003
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Abstract

The main scope of this chapter is to present the “Action3” Decision Support System that integrates the MPC+ approach (Map - Plan - Choose - Check), supporting local and regional authorities to the development, implementation and monitoring of the Sustainable Energy and Climate Action Plan (especially within the framework of the Covenant of Mayors). The proposed intelligent system integrates three main modules, namely the “BEI-Action” for the development of the baseline emission inventory, the “MDS-Action” for the creation and evaluation of the alternative Scenarios of Actions aiming at the identification of the most promising Scenario, as well as the “SEC-Action” for the application of the “Methodological Approach for Monitoring SEC (Sustainable Energy Communities) Targets”. The system was developed using the “Java” programming language and the “NetBeans IDE” software development platform. Particular emphasis was laid on the system's design, so as to be user-friendly, combining intuitive menus and navigation throughout the steps of the system.
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Introduction

Sustainable energy policy has been a challenge for the local and regional authorities (EU, 2013). The disengagement from the unilateral economic development may be achieved through the progressive dissemination of renewable energy and rational use of energy actions. As a result, the decision making problem of the development and monitoring of the Sustainable Energy and Climate Action Plan (especially within the framework of Covenant of Mayors initiative) is an important component in local authorities’ operation towards the creation of sustainable energy communities (Marinakis et al., 2017).

The “MPC+ (Map - Plan - Choose - Check)” approach, presented in the previous Chapter, provides an integrated framework for the local energy planning, making available to the local authorities methods and tools for the development, implementation and monitoring of the Sustainable Energy and Climate Action Plan. In this context, the main scope of this Chapter is to present the “Action3” information system that integrates the MPC+ approach.

Step by step, the “Action3” information system guide the local authorities in the required data entry in order to develop the municipality’s Sustainable Energy Acton Plan. From filling in the community’s general characteristics, up to the compilation of more complicated data, such as the Baselines Emission Inventory and the identification of Action Plan’s activities, the system’s stepwise approach is simple, concise and comprehensive. Its embedded modules can even support the decision maker during the procedure of monitoring the Action Plan’s targets set.

More specifically, the structure of the proposed system is divided into three main modules, each divided into more steps:

  • “BEI-Action (Baseline Emission Inventory)” Module: Identification of the current status of the municipality, integrating the individual algorithms for the alternative methods of energy balance’ and of CO2 emission factors’ calculation, in order to develop the baseline emissions inventory.

  • “MDS-Action (Multicriteria Decision Support)” Module: Design and creation of alternative Scenarios of Actions and assessment regarding the level of CO2 emissions reduction. All the feasible Scenarios are evaluated using the multi-criteria analysis and robustness analysis of the evaluation model, in order to identify the most promising Scenario for the examined municipality.

  • “SEC-Action (Sustainable Energy Communities)” Module: Implementation of the Methodological Approach for Monitoring SEC Targets, aiming at the monitoring of the Sustainable Energy and Climate Action Plan implemented by the municipality and the relevant targets set.

Apart from the introduction, this Chapter is structured along five sections. Section 2 provides a description of the technologies used for the development of the “Action3” information system. Sections 3-5 are devoted to the presentation of the functionalities and front-end environments of the three modules “BEI-Action”, “MDS-Action” and “SEC-Action”. Finally, the last section just summarizes the key issues that have arisen in this paper.

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Technologies

The information system was developed using the “Java” programming language and the “NetBeans IDE” software development platform. More specifically, the following technologies were required: technology for the development of graphical user interface, command and communication functions with “.xlsx” and “.xml” files, functions for “.pdf” files handling and generation, functions for graphs, functions for polynomial approximation and linear programming problem solving. In addition, the main “Java” libraries used, are the following:

  • itextpdf-5.4.5 (creation and handling .pdf files).

  • jdom-2.0.5 & dom4j-1.6.1 (creation and manipulation of files .xml).

  • xmlbeans-2.3.0 (creation and manipulation of files .xml).

  • jfreechart-1.0.17 & jcommon-1.0.21 (creation and operation diagrams).

  • Commons-math3-3.2 (solving linear programming problems).

  • poi-3.9 (handling files .xlsx).

  • jasypt-1.9.2 (encryption and decryption).

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