Agile Software Development in LOCALISED

Agile Software Development in LOCALISED

LOCALISED focuses on the downscaling of country-level decarbonization pathways to a regional level. From a research point of view, this compels a literature review of existing downscaling methods, experimentation, and an analysis of the results. Furthermore, the downscaling of decarbonization pathways requires, as input, a plethora of data encompassing regional climate conditions, energy supply mix, sectoral energy demand, building stock, population, etc.

Within the project’s workflow, the downscaling results serve as input to further tasks such as the development of a mitigation and adaptation measures optimization model. Should these tasks be postponed until the results of downscaling are ready? The answer is NO! We, the members involved in the LOCALISED project, strongly believe that agile software development [1] is as relevant in research as it is in industrial applications. Therefore, within the scope of the LOCALISED project, we work on each software development task iteratively in order to avoid bottlenecks in the project workflow.

There have been two major iterations of the downscaling task thus far:

Iteration 1: The developed decarbonization pathways [2] were downscaled using a simple approach whereby the values at the country level are distributed to its regions using the regional population as a proxy indicator. This method is depicted in Figure 1. We saved the results and made these available to the partners.

This process not only allowed us to provide the first downscaled results to the partners but also to create a skeleton-codebase that could be used to perform further work on the downscaling methods.

Iteration 2: We designed a database and an API that enables our partners to query the data, thus eliminating the need for the circulation of files containing the results of disaggregation.

It is planned that the results of downscaling will be provided to end-users via an open access data-sharing platform. This iteration has allowed us to create a skeleton data-sharing platform.

Through the established feedback process within the project, the downscaling methods and the software infrastructure are improving continuously. An update regarding open sourcing the data-sharing platform will follow soon.


[1] Abrahamsson, Pekka, et al. “Agile software development methods: Review and analysis.” arXiv preprint arXiv:1709.08439 (2017).


The importance of power grid resilience. How to address it through decarbonisation.

The importance of power grid resilience. How to address it through decarbonisation.

The negative consequences of the COVID-19 pandemic are innumerable, be they health, economic, technological, or social. However, once much of the storm has already passed, we can learn and improve our society from it. Using this idea as a starting point, the Catalonian Energy Research Centre (IREC) collectively with researchers from of the Group of Construction Research and Innovation of the Polytechnic University of Catalonia (UPC -GRIC) launched the project ComMit-20 with the aim of establishing the long and short-term impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic concerning energy consumption, changes in usage patterns, and increased indoor environmental quality requirements in buildings.

Even though it is certain that one of the main impacts of COVID-19 was on city wellbeing and health, the power grid system has not been an exception from the pandemic’s impacts.  Confinements and changes in consumption patterns put the grid system to the test, such as increased electricity demand in urban areas that did not have sufficient capacity to supply it. Consequently, the grid had to adapt to scenarios that may have seemed impossible before. This critical and unprecedented situation brought to the table once again one of the most studied characteristics of electricity grids in recent years: power grid resilience.

Until a few years ago, there was no distinction between the reliability and resilience power grid and in fact, both concepts referred to similar meanings. However, their differentiation appeared due to the necessity to address high-impact-low-probability (HILP) events, in other words, occasionally events capable of massively damaging the system. Moreover, three different hazard events are analyzed in the field of power grid resilience:

  • Sudden changes in the use of the network infrastructure (e.g., the paradigm caused by the Covid-19 pandemic).
  • Catastrophic weather events (being more and more severe because of climate change).
  • Cyberattacks.

Considering these three aspects, and within the framework of ComMit-20, IREC has been focused on making the electricity grid more resilient to HILP events, which are expected to increase their frequency and make the grid more vulnerable. As a part of the task, a study on the resilience of Barcelona’s electricity grid was conducted, with the aim of analyzing long-term impacts of HILP events. As an example, simulations of disruptive scenarios for 500-years flood scenarios were carried out using technical data of the power grid and socio-economic data of Barcelona to give it a more multi-perspective view.

The results obtained from the study showed that almost 20% of the city’s substations would have a moderate or higher probability of failure, which could lead to a cascading breakdown of the system. Moreover, the impact of this catastrophic weather event would not be uniform across the city, and some neighborhoods would be more susceptible to flooding.

One possible solution to mitigate those impacts and increase the power grid resilience would be the installation of renewable energies in those risk areas. This adaptive measure would help compensate for that energy not delivered in those points where the grid could fail, and at the same time, it would help to decarbonise the city and to reach the net-zero scenario. In this way, this measure would not only mitigate the impacts of the event, but also help adapt to climate change by decreasing the frequency of occurrence of those events.

Provisional framework for business vulnerability assessment to decarbonization pathways

Provisional framework for business vulnerability assessment to decarbonization pathways

Inspired by the latest Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s Assessment Reports (IPCC AR5 and AR6), LOCALISED developed its business vulnerability assessment framework to reflect the latest knowledge in the field of climate change risk assessment.

Using the IPCC Risk Framework, the risk imposed by decarbonization pathways to regional businesses and industries can be calculated through a circular process starting with the identification of hazard as a set of environmental, economic, and social changes induced by the pathways. The vulnerability then will be calculated along different dimensions such as energy demand, labour, raw materials, demand, supply, logistics, final output, emissions, and the geographic location of the business entity.

This framework allows LOCALISED to investigate the impact of downscaled decarbonization pathways on businesses and industries in terms of their exposure to direct and indirect changes in their environment, emissions, energy input, supply of raw material, and demand. Businesses may choose to respond differently to such changes depending on their sensitivity and vulnerability.

LOCALISED is in the process of identifying and engaging with key business stakeholders in order to co-design the vulnerability index tailored to the needs and ambitions of each business sector. The vulnerability assessment helps businesses in identifying their sensitivities and strengths compared to their peers and to pave the way for strengthening their competitiveness.

First national decarbonization pathways ready to develop and testing the downscalling approach

First national decarbonization pathways ready to develop and testing the downscalling approach

LOCALISED achieved an important milestone with the simulation of three country-level decarbonization pathways – see Costa (2022). The results will now feed into developing and testing our downscaling methodology.

Using the EUCalculator model the demand for services, production and energy technology deployment previously published in decarbonization pathways for Portugal, France and Germany were closely matched for their evolution by 2050 – see example in Table 1. This allows the project to estimate in a consistent manner – across the countries – the material, resources and technical challenges associated with decarbonization. With intra-country comparison achieved by the usage of a common energy model, the project will now move forward on building and testing a downscalling methodology that translates the national-level results to the municipality scale.

Table 1: Key assumptions on activities and technology deployment for the transport sector contained in the French National Low-Carbon Strategy (SNBC 2050) and their reproduction by the EUCalculator model.

Why is downscalling important? Because the practical challenges of implementing mitigation actions and technology deployment truly materializes at spatial levels much lower than those considered in energy models defining national pathways. A case in  point is the transformation needed in the building sector. To be aligned with the evaluated national pathway (see  ARIADNE 2045), by 2050 circa 80% of the current standing building stock in Germany needs to undergo on substantial energy renovations – see Figure 1 derived from results in Costa (2022).

Figure 1: Energy-renovation efforts for the existing building stock of Germany aligned with the ARIADNE 2045 transformational pathway and calculated by the EUCalculator model.

While this trajectory is indicative of national effort, local efforts for building renovation across Germany will be heterogenous and shaped by local aspects influencing cost-effectivnes of renovation such as building age, building type or usage (Staniaszek et al. 2015). 

A more spatially-dissagregated view on the renovation effort will enable municipalities to have a frist-order approximation of the local effort in building renovation with the guarantee that it is aligned with the national pathway. Keep tuned as details on the downscalling methodology will follow soon.

(1) In the EUCalculator model these refer to the choices of ambition levels from 1 to 4 equating to past trends to transformational change, more details on model and ambition description please refer to Costa et al, 2021.

The partner MAGGS promotes Educational campaign and green & blue investments in schools

The partner MAGGS promotes Educational campaign and green & blue investments in schools

Educational campaign and green & blue investments in schools

“Climate in the Schools of Metropolis” is the biggest educational project carried out in the Metropolitan Area Gdańsk-Gdynia-Sopot regions (MAGGS), project partner of LOCALISED. As many as 40 schools participate in it, both from large cities such as Gdynia, Gdańsk, Tczew, Malbork, Rumia, and small towns like  Kłodawa, Bielkówko, Dębogórze czy Linia. Green and blue investments will be built on the premises of each of the schools submitted for the project. Schools can choose from: a box rain garden, a ground rain garden, an infiltration basin, a composter or a green wall.

“Small retention facilities mimic nature in collecting, clearing and delaying rainwater runoff. They are an important element of counteracting the effects of climate change, so their creation in schools will not only be functional, but also educational” says dr Wojciech Szpakowski, technical director at the municipal company Gdańskie Wody, which is the project partner.

As part of the projects teachers of nature, biology or geography will be trained, they will also receive necessary teaching materials. Each school will also receive seedlings and tools for additional planting. We will also invite students to participate in the competition “Let’s protect the metropolitan environment”. Activities in schools are complemented by a social campaign aimed at informing about climate change and sudden weather phenomena (torrential rains, droughts).

As part of the information and education activities, the LOCALISED partner MAGGS will organize press conferences and educational films, advertising spots, brochures and information leaflets will also be created. Project “Climate in the Schools of Metropolis” will last three years. MAGGS implements it in cooperation with the content partner Gdańskie Wody and the foreign partner International Development Norway.