A pilot version of the Decision Support Tool (DST) developed in S2S4E will be launched in June. Mathieu Salel, Innovation strategist at LGI, mainly involved in the WP6 of the S2S4E project, explains why the energy industry needs this new tool.
S2S4E. What is the Decision Support Tool and how can it make the difference?
Mathieu Salel. The DST developed by the S2S4E partners aims at making energy stakeholders more resilient to climate change. There are tools available on the market advertised as such but results of our market research indicated that they are often less energy-specific than providers would have customers believe. The DST is being developed based on relevant case studies energy stakeholders encountered in the past. Energy experts are involved in the project to ensure continuous feedback on the tool at all development steps. Therefore, the DST is developed by energy experts for energy experts which ensures adequacy with market needs and high legitimacy! The DST provides predictions in Europe for energy indicators such as electricity demand or electricity production from renewable sources while most competitors only forecast climate variables. Finally, it furnishes information for a time horizon that is not much covered by the state of the art, particularly sub-seasonal.
S2S4E. What can the energy sector use the DST for?
MS. Generally speaking, whenever weather information is used to make decisions, climate predictions provided by the DST can provide important input. For instance, the DST can help the energy sector to deal with maintenance planning of power plants and electricity grids by providing information on potential upcoming extreme events. The DST can also directly benefit energy traders when buying or selling energy on the forward market. For their part, energy retailers can find in the DST a key instrument to secure long-term energy supply. Overall, we believe that widespread use of the DST would lead to reduced costs for the energy sector and a higher share of renewables in the European energy system.
S2S4E. What about other industrial sectors?
MS. While forecasts on energy indicators are mostly useful for the energy sector, the DST will also produce climate predictions, and that’s why a large array of industrial actors may be interested too. For instance, the DST could help tourism industry professionals in better anticipating and responding to snowless periods, while the agri-food sector would better adapt its supply to a weather-sensitive demand. Even the textile industry may also gain in production optimisation by adjusting its purchase of wool if winter is expected to be mild. These are just a few examples among a lot of potential opportunities.
S2S4E. Do you think tools like the DST benefit from strong political support?
MS. Based on the results of our “Assessment of policies and recommendations” (D6.2), climate services (including sub-seasonal to seasonal (S2S)) tend to not get strong policy support, neither at national nor EU level. Nevertheless, the situation seems to be evolving with the “Clean Energy for all Europeans Package”. If the existing draft is adopted as it is, it will be the first time in 20 years of energy transition policies that a European directive will explicitly mention the “seasonal adequacy” and require the use of a “probabilistic approach” (assessing which events are most likely to occur), both being key characteristics of the S2S4E project. In a context of post-Paris Agreement and carbon neutrality objectives, this probably confirms the Union’s will in using all available instruments to make its energy system more sustainable without compromising its security of supply.