The Territorial and Sectoral Information System on Emissions (SITE), developed over the last 3 years by the Area on Information Technologies against Climate Change (ICTvsCC) of the Institute of Information and Communication Technologies (ITACA) of the Universitat Politècnica de València (UPV), has been contracted by the government of the German federal state of Saxony-Anhalt for its use as a governance tool for the energy transition and against climate change.
The methodology, the result of the work of 27 researchers from 7 UPV departments led by Professors Javier Urchueguía, José Vicente Oliver and Lenin Lemus, is, as Oliver states, “the result of several research projects funded by the Valencian Innovation Agency (AVI) and the European Commission. Its implementation now comes with an administration very seriously committed to rigor, transparency and optimization of public resources in the fight against climate change, such as the green government of Saxony-Anhalt”, he adds.
Real-time measurement for public administrations
The measurement of local emissions, analyzed in its different components and contextualized in real time, is one of the great attractions of the methodology.
“SITE, says Urchueguía,“ is designed to be implemented using big data and artificial intelligence technologies to collect and analyze greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions data in real time. The capture of these emissions is carried out from heterogeneous data sources that facilitate their monitoring and evaluation based on criteria and indicators, the programming of measures and projects, and the presentation of reports in accordance with the local or regional commitments established by the EU regulations”.
“The German administration”, adds the UPV professor and researcher, “has chosen SITE because it allows improving the efficiency of the use of available resources to reduce GHG emissions in all sectors, including the so-called diffuse sectors (energy, transport, construction, agriculture and forestry, waste management, etc.), not covered in the EU Emissions Trading Scheme. SITE is a climate governance methodology that, based on the integration of data from the entire regional administration, makes it possible to apply EU climate policy and legislation in the land of Saxony-Anhalt”.
Application at local and regional level
Uwe Zischkale, Director General for Energy, Climate Change and Sustainability at the Saxony-Anhalt Ministry of the Environment, Agriculture, Climate Change and Energy, highlights that SITE “allows us to apply it both at a regional and local level. Thus, the regional top-down level quantifies the GHG emissions of all emission sources of all the municipalities of our land, based on the emission calculations carried out by the IPCC at the level of all Germany and municipal databases”.
“On the other hand”, he continues, “the local level is based on bottom-up methodologies and quantifies the GHG emissions of all the focal points of a municipality with high spatial and temporal resolution based on data compilations made by the actors present in the territory and the ICT devices available. We have also valued as highly innovative and positive that, through machine learning techniques (deep learning and neural networks), each local level that is introduced in SITE is improving the quality of the results offered by the system”, he concludes.
Digitization, a priority for the European decarbonisation agenda
This contracting occurs within a framework in which the European decarbonisation agenda establishes digitization as one of its priorities in the energy transition. “The EU”, indicates Urchueguía, “already provides a lot of funds for digitization and the new Green Deal, as well as post-COVID restructuring funds. In this context, regional and local public administrations need solid tools for not only the planning of measures, but also for their monitoring and the evaluation of socio-economic and environmental impacts based on criteria and quantitative indicators (KPI) anchored in existing regulations. This is vital, above all, for the justification, rigorous and transparent, and the capture of these European funds for the benefit of the sustainable development of our community”.
Important at the public and private level, and for citizens
On the other hand, Professor Lemus stresses the importance of qualitative measurement of emissions data for managers in both the public and private sectors. “It is important”, he points out, “to allow a detailed quantification of GHG emissions at the territorial level, both local and regional, and by specific sectors, so that public officials can use this information in their decision-making, but also companies and the citizens”.
“One of the tactical advantages of SITE”, continues Lemus, “is that it contemplates the introduction of alert models based on KPIs, such as Balanced Scorecard, of emission sources linked to strategic objectives in the region, in order to provide rapid responses and corrections. In addition, the tool allows the simulation of scenarios with measures to address climate change, establishing decision metrics to prioritize these projects through action plans. This prospective simulation aims to promote the shift towards a resource-efficient, low-carbon and climate-resilient economy. Finally, SITE incorporates a communication module (Dashboard) to sensitize and empower citizens, encouraging participation, and contributing to transparency and climate education to face mitigation and adaptation to climate change”.
In continuous development
The SITE environment, which the ICTvsCC-UPV Group continues to develop by applying the most advanced ICTs, integrates a wide range of knowledge from the UPV in the areas of environment, agriculture and forestry, process technologies in the different industrial sectors, renewable energies, sustainable construction, transport and mobility.
In this sense, Oliver points out that the work team maintains “a strategic line of research to meet two great challenges that we have, as a society: digitization and the active fight against climate change. We believe that, as a public university, we must transfer our knowledge and our technologies for their application in the business sector and in the public administration, in order to optimize scientific rigor, resources and transparency, as we are doing with the German administration”.
Source: UPV’s Information Office
The Territorial and Sector Information System for Emissions was developed by ICTvsCC of ITACA Institute (UPV)
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