Energy Software Programs need Awareness and Acceptance
At current times in our country’s history, when energy is the hottest topic in almost all spheres, there is a need to take measures on exigent basis. Authorities, stakeholders, public and international agencies, all share the same responsibility to take preventive measures against the oncoming omens of energy starvation.
According to experts, the next general elections will see the voters prioritizing energy and valuing assurance against electric outages over sensitive issues like terrorism and other security concerns. Being a country blessed with immense potential to utilize renewable energy resources in all possible productive way, there is need to spread its awareness and advantages among all walk of life throughout the country.
Although there do exist some institutions having introduced specialized courses, modules and research wings stressing the importance of alternative energy practices in context to Pakistan’s scenario, such knowledge, almost, is neither accessible by a common person nor being put in to practice or analysis by a learner.
Neutrally speaking, issues such as scarcity of funds and inaccessibility to hardware resources may not permit experimental trial. However, in such case, using computers for design-based analysis seems to be the best alternate.
Across many research centers worldwide, specialized computer software and internet-based applications are in use for analyzing various energy-related topics. In addition to improving a student’s understanding, such software programs also hone the analytical abilities which in turn result in products designed in a better manner.
Most of the popular brands have introduced applications which are free to use and some of them are specific for some particular energy option.
In general a few of the most popular software programs and online platforms are:
RETScreen is among the mostly used applications at international universities. It is mainly used for energy evaluation studies. Main features include estimation of greenhouse-gas emissions, energy costs, and feasibility. It caters to both solar and wind energy design parameters as well as hybrid systems. It has weather databases of various worldwide locations stored within and comes in many different languages. The results after showing associated risks and potential costs also suggest the most viable and cheaper option among many available.
System Advisor Model (SAM)
System Advisor Model (SAM), due to its compliance to a wide range of subjects, helps both managers, engineers, designers, developers and researchers etc. The main features include its ability to forecast the potential costs based on different design strategies.
SAM is unique because it covers most of renewable energy options such as solar energy, wind energy, geothermal and biomass etc.
Introduced by US Department of Energy, Homer, has the major application in the design of Distributed Generation (DG) systems. It is compatible with both on-grid and off-grid power systems. Based on its inherent algorithms, Homer evaluates the technical as well as financial feasibility of a project keeping in view the real-world technological and financial variations.
METEONORM allows a user to obtain solar irradiation data of any location worldwide given it coordinates. However, nearly impractical due to unavailability of weather stations every where; technique of interpolation is used to estimate the irradiation values for areas nearby some weather station. The database is updated continuously with latest satellite readings.
Another popular software program is AEPS System Planning which is used for designing and simulating electrical power systems considering renewable energy options.
Because of not updated with irradiation profiles and weather data of all Pakistani cities, techniques of interpolation can make such software applications for estimating a particular area’s irradiation profile and hence tailor the renewable energy design to that area. This can create awareness and enable individuals to select the right option for them. By bringing decision power to masses, suchlike initiatives can help project a greener and prosperous Pakistan.
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