Energy Balance Tool
The Energy Balance Tool is a freeware tool that can be used to analyze the energy and environmental impacts of your city’s energy system on a yearly basis, including the possibility of forecasting impacts of various energy strategies. The Energy Balance Tool is widely used for baseline studies and making energy strategies for municipalities in Denmark. In Denmark, the tool was used to:
- Map energy balance progress every second year (2007, 2009, 2011, 2013, 2015, 2017 and 2019) in 30+ Danish municipalities.
- Making baseline emission inventories in the Global Covenant of Mayors for Climate & Energy template.
- Make local future scenarios and action plans.
In SmartEnCity, the tool was used to set up energy balances for the Lighthouse and Follower Cities where the platform helped to measure, present, and compare energy performances across the Lighthouse Cities. For any city intending to use this tool, it will help you to understand what your current energy expenditure is, share of renewable energy sources, share of non-renewable energy sources, GHG emissions, and other important indicators. In SmartEnCity, the three main uses for the Energy Balance Tool were defined and are explained below:
- Baseline and monitoring: Map the baseline energy metrics in your city and monitor your transition progress from fossil fuels to renewable energy.
- Reference forecast: Make a reference forecast to show how the energy supply will be in the future if no actions are applied.
- Future plan scenario: The future plan spreadsheet presents policy options that may come true only if the prescribed number of actions are carried out.
While this tool can certainly be used by anyone interested in assessing the energy balance in their city, city officials and energy experts are especially encouraged to use this tool as it will help them understand the current energy balance in their city, forecast changes to their energy supply in the future, and plan policy actions accordingly. Thus, the Energy Balance Tool is a powerful tool that can be used by policymakers to provide them with accurate, up to date information and make educated decisions to achieve their carbon neutral goals. Access to measured data about all sectors of the energy system can be a challenge when working with the energy balance. If data access is a challenge, users are encouraged to use best available data or best available estimate.
How to use & tips:
- The Energy Balance Tool itself is an integrated and technical tool. However, we have provided a thorough guideline document that explains the concept, methodology, and how to use the tool in practice, including examples from Sonderborg. To get started, we recommend following these steps:
- Go to the “Tools” section on the SmartEnCity website: SmartEnCity Tools
- Select and read through the “Guideline on how to use the “Energy Balance Tool”
- Download the “Energy Balance Tool”.
- Start using the tool! Reference the guideline as needed.
- If you’re already in the hardcore energy planning state of mind, why not check out the EnergyPLAN tools as well!
The Energy planning tool utilizes data from multiple sources, which requires patience, due diligence, and careful analysis. This tool is not a quick fix to assessing your cities energy needs, but rather a tool to be developed over time. Therefore, this tool is certainly suited for analyzing the energy balance of your city and developing long-term strategies towards a zero-carbon city.
Links to further information:
Find the guideline here - Guideline on how to use the Energy Balance Tool
Download the tool here - Energy Balance Tool
Read the full paper on Sonderborg’s experience here - Sonderborg Diagnosis and Baseline