By Anthony Capkun
January 31, 2015 – NRCan’s CanmetENERGY recently won co-funding from the Vienna-based Renewable Energy & Energy Efficiency Partnership (REEEP) to develop an intelligent version of the RETScreen software called, fittingly, RETScreen Expert.
RETScreen is a decision-support tool developed with the contribution of experts from government, industry and academia. The software, provided free-of-charge from the RETScreen website, can be used worldwide to evaluate the energy production and savings, costs, emission reductions, financial viability and risk for various types of renewable energy and energy efficiency technologies.
RETScreen Expert, meantime, aims to leverage a global database of project input parameters, an expert knowledge base of best practices and an intelligent decision engine to enable stakeholders to very quickly identify, assess, optimize and track the performance of clean energy investments over the entire project life cycle.
What is RETScreen for, anyway? NRCan explains that, over the next 30 years, the world will need to invest well over $300 billion in pre-construction transaction costs for renewable energy, cogeneration and energy efficiency projects. Looking at just the category of commercial and institutional buildings in Canada, for example, it is estimated that roughly $5 billion would be required to fund energy audits of the 470,000 existing facilities. NRCan insists the time and cost required to prepare these studies are significant market barriers that can be reduced dramatically with RETScreen.
REEEP has been “an important and valued partner” of CanmetENERGY in developing and disseminating RETScreen for use across the globe, reports NRCan, adding that this is the fifth round of investment by REEEP in RETScreen (with this most recent REEEP grant for RETScreen Expert funded by the governments of the United Kingdom and Norway). It is projected that RETScreen will have more than one million users worldwide by 2023 as a result of this major new upgrade of the software.
Natural Resources Canada’s CanmetENERGY is “the Canadian leader in clean energy research and technology development”, says NRCan, boasting over 450 scientists, engineers and technicians and more than 100 years of experience.