User Survey

User Survey

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Determining end user requirements for the Clim2Power climate service – A preliminary scoping questionnaire

CONTEXT

Changes in climate, have practical consequences for the generation of electricity and use of water. Changes in the seasonal patterns of precipitation, solar radiation and wind all affect the ability of power suppliers to operate efficiently. CLIM2POWER is a new European research project which  brings together the latest in seasonal weather forecasting along with hydrological and power supply and demand modelling and aims to produce a web based climate service to enable understanding of, and adaptation to, changing climate.  This climate service will be targeted at companies in the power market as well as power market regulators, water and environmental management authorities.

CLIM2POWER will link seasonal climate models with hydrological and energy system models to assess the effects of climate on power generation. To produce a useful service, the project must fully understand which type of information and tools best support the day-to-day decision making of power companies and other users.  Linking atmospheric, hydrological and energy systems models together is in itself a scientific and technical challenge which requires expertise and analysis from a range of disciplines from the physical sciences to economics.  Ensuring the results of these analysis fit for purpose demands an understanding of human, social factors at works within institutions and it is increasingly recognised that cooperation between data producers and data users is essential in developing useful services. Co-production of climate services involves sustained synergistic interactions between producers and users of climate information and has been demonstrated to increase usability, both through improved understanding of the data by users and increased customisation of data by producers (Lemos et al., 2012), this document is intended as an initial scoping exercise to facilitate the process of co-production.

Power suppliers and regulators as well as water and environmental management agencies are the major target audiences for which the CLIM2POWER climate service is being developed. Targeting users who will make practical use of the climate service is a first priority.  These broad groupings contain different sub-sectors made up of individuals each with different roles and responsibilities different skill-sets and different levels of interest, knowledge and understanding and these may operate and may operate at a range of spatial scales from, local to national, international or across the entire continent.

Depending on their roles and responsibilities, level of expertise interests, different users will also have varying amounts of time to dedicate to particular decisions, it is therefore important to ensure that the amount of information supplied matches the needs of users and that the relevant information is not obscured or diluted with too much information.  Figure 1 Gives a generic representation of the levels of information required by different level of users.

CLIM2POWER takes a systematic approach to developing an effective service. The first step is a dedicated task to develop an overview of end user requirements.  This will involve surveys, direct consultations and a desk-based literature review.  The following section is a scoping questionnaire to assess end user requirements in terms of roles, technical competencies and levels of interest/time and spatial scales of operation.

The goal of the CLIM2POWER climate service (and of any other climate service) is transmission of useful information to the user. In order to best target information the following survey considers characteristics of users, types of information and format for delivery.

  1. Users: The climate service is intended to serve a range of sectors, focussing on the different power generating sectors (hydro, wind, solar) but also providing useful information to environmental and water management authorities and regulators. Within these organisations, different users have different roles and responsibilities, different levels of technical expertise, understanding and time which will dictate the type of information which is useful to them.  Section one of the survey below is dedicated to understanding the types of users who will use the service.
  2. Useful information: According to the Lemos et al (2012) usable information must be credible, salient and relevant. The credibility of the data is dependent both on the source and reliability of modelled data (which will depend on the quality of the predictions of the CLIM2POWER modelling outputs) salience and relevance are characteristics of the user specific needs. Depending on a user’s sector and role their requirement for types of data will vary.  Hydro, wind and solar energy each rely directly on different aspects of climate. Within particular sectors however the type of information which is most relevant depends on the requirements as well as the competencies of the users.  For example, an individual hydro electrical power plant operator may be interested in data on the rate of flow (m3s-1) or resulting power output (MWh-1). At a level higher organisational management, a less technically minded manager may be interested in statistical summaries for example in the percentage of total production from a particular source or contribution of a power source to annual production. At the regulatory level, aggregate indicators of total energy by source may be more appropriate.  The second section of the survey below is designed to determine what types of information are relevant to which users.  Different types of information include different parameters (e.g. Temperature wind speed) as well as different levels of data aggregation from raw data through to statistics and indicators.
  3. Transmission: McLuhan (1964 famously stated that “the medium is the message” meaning that the format for delivery of information in media is as important as the information itself. The proliferation of web based data distribution platforms over the last decade has resulted in a huge variety of technologies and techniques to harness and communicate data.  However, many data delivery systems developed under European research initiative have limited impact in terms of practical use and uptake.  Understanding the ways in which users ingest data and the platforms which deliver data successfully is an essential element of designing a successful web based platform the third section of the scoping survey below deals with user experiences of existing spatial data infrastructure and data delivery platforms.

We thank you for taking the time to fill out this short questionnaire and we hope that this will mark the beginning of a dialogue that will enable us to develop a service that can best meet your needs.

 

Click here for to access the survey.