Data For Sustainable Energy (D4SE) Pathways Grant : Business analysis and marker research

Lead Research Organisation: British Geological Survey
Department Name: Environmental Modelling


Renewable energy project can be complex to deliver. The factors that affect the successes of a renewable project are not just technical but also political. For example, shallow geothermal heat projects are affected by technical parameters like slope aspect, geology and permeability but also constraints intended to make project both safe and acceptable to the local population, such as proximity to major infrastructure or within protected area likes Sites of Special Scientific Interest; Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty; National Parks etc.
Data4SustainableEnergy (D4SE) is intended to help solve this problem by compiling all of these information sources together and assesses the suitability of a site for many different types of Renewable Energy Technology. The system provides advice as to which is the best technology to pursue on that site and provides a single score which can be understood by a user without specialist geological knowledge.
The weighting of the various factors that control both the resources and the constraints are assessed using a technical approach called Multi-Criteria Decision Analysis advised by experts who advised on installation of renewable energy technologies. These outputs are presented using a webGIS to end users.
However there are many potential imaginable end-users for this system
- Landowners with single sites to develop aiming to maximise revenue and minimise installation expenditure
- Landowners with multiple, site seeking to choose the best technology for the best site
- Renewable energy industry consultants and installers to help them advise clients and maximise revenue
- Local authorities seeking to control land use to greatest benefit.

Each of these users has somewhat different requirements in terms of the data that they need and precisely how it is presented. We also need to understand:
- how each group might use the information that is provided to aid that business,
- the scale of the total market and thus the opportunity that is present and
- the potential charges that BGS could reasonably charge for access to this information

Market research will help us understand the parameters and then quantify the best approach for developing this idea in the future.

Planned Impact

Renewable energy technologies present a massive opportunities for the UK to reduce carbon emissions and ultimately to significant to decarbonise our economy.

UK PLC will be the most significant beneficiaries of this project as it will simplify the processes for development of the renewable energy technologies and thus decrease the cost for developing carbon-free / low carbon energy with multiple potential benefits:
- thus benefiting the environment and the welfare of UK citizens
- increasing energy security by reducing dependence on imported hydrocarbons and
- oncreasing resilience by moving energy generation away from major river valleys which are their current predominant location.

D4SE should ensure that the development of renewable energy projects are speeded up and less likely to be derailed during the planning processes. It will also lower cost in terms of making sure that inappropriate technology projects are not pursued.

Other more direct key beneficiaries will be the renewable energy industry as D4SE will facilitate costs savings in this industry though more targeted advice and saving on site investigations by eliminating non-relevant technologies. Large landowners will benefit by providing targeted advice as to the best renewable energy technology to use on that site to give the best return on investment. Local authorities and environmental protection organisations will be able to assess potential for renewable energy around an area.

Market research is necessary to understand the optimal format for delivering RET information to initial beneficiaries by optimising the exact format of this and also allowing the weighting of the various factors to be optimised.
Description Application of multi-criteria decision support analysis to geospatial decision making. The original use case for D4SE ( optimal site selection for renewable energy technologies) has not proven to be sustainable. But development of this methodology has applied to the societally relevant issue of identifying the costs for developing brownfield land which has now been used to advise Greater Manchester Combined Authority on the possibilities for redeveloping brownfield lad for residential and industrial development.
Exploitation Route The Brownfield Cost Calculator has now been applied to brownfield land redevelopment in other cities in the UK.
Sectors Construction,Digital/Communication/Information Technologies (including Software),Environment

Description The multi-criteria decision analysis logic developed in this system was used to underpin decision support systems undertaken for Manchester Combined Authority and Gateshead Borough Council for providing additional cost calculations for brownfield land development.
First Year Of Impact 2020
Sector Construction,Government, Democracy and Justice
Impact Types Societal,Policy & public services

Description Greater Manchester Combined Authority Regional Development Plan
Geographic Reach Local/Municipal/Regional 
Policy Influence Type Contribution to a national consultation/review
Impact Reusing underpinning geospatial Multi-Criteria Decision Analysis methodology for D4SE to help understand redevelopment costs for brownfield land in Greater Manchester Combined authority to aid them reaching their HMG derived residential development task without extensive use of greenfield sites.
Title BGR_calc 
Description The Geospatial Decision Support methodology using Multi-Criteria Decision Analysis that underpinned D4SE has now been reused as a mechanism to inform City/ Region about the costs of reusing brownfield land within their boundaries for residential / industrial development to provide hones and /or jobs. 
Type Of Material Improvements to research infrastructure 
Year Produced 2018 
Provided To Others? No  
Impact Policy advice to Greater Manchester Combined Authority contributing directly to them meeting their proposed housing development target without substantial loss of Greater Manchester greenbelt 
Title D4SE DSS 
Description Implementation of Multiple-criteria decision analysis as a geospatial processing tool for advising businesses based on technical geoscience data. Such techniques have since been adopted in a variety of new prototype tools for providing geoscience data to decision makers and businesses which are currently being specified and tested. 
Type Of Material Data analysis technique 
Year Produced 2017 
Provided To Others? No  
Impact None yet available but effort is ongoing. 
Description D4SE partners 
Organisation Land Quality Management Ltd
Country United Kingdom 
Sector Private 
PI Contribution We have co-developed a system allowing provision of geoscience information to Business customers. Though business models are currently being reviewed this will in all likelihood be developed into future products and services. LQM provided business intelligence and led an earlier project phase. em
Collaborator Contribution LQM led an initial project phase (iUK funded) and will be involved in further endeavours to co-develop / marketise the project outcomes.
Impact Business requirements advice
Start Year 2017
Title BGR_calc 
Description Geospatial decision support tool to aid council make better decisions on brownfield and development 
Type Of Technology Software 
Year Produced 2018 
Impact Direct policy input into the Greater Manchester Combined Authority regional development plan.