A downloadable shareware program that was developed by the government of Canada in 1996 has updated five modules on renewable energy systems and introduced a new module on combined heat & power.
The RETScreen International Clean Energy Decision Support Centre was created to build the capacity of planners and decision-makers for implementing renewable energy projects. The shareware is a decision-making tool that claims to reduce the cost of pre-feasibility studies and to train people to analyze the technical and financial viability of possible projects.
Within the past two months, RETScreen has updated its models on solar water heating, biomass, passive solar, ground source heat pumps and solar air heating, and added a model for combined heat and power (cogeneration). A tenth module on refrigeration is expected soon.
The software has 61,000 users in 207 countries, and can provide comparative assessments of projects using wind energy, small hydro, solar PV, biomass heating, solar air heating, solar water heating, passive solar heating and ground-source heat pumps. The shareware is available in 21 languages and accounts for rules under the Kyoto Protocol (including Clean Development Mechanism, Joint Implementation and emissions trading). It also contains a product database with data for 5,880 power, heating and cooling systems around the world, and its weather database provides access to meteorological data covering the entire surface of the planet, including 4,720 ground-monitoring stations and NASA satellite data.
RETScreen says its software has saved stakeholders C$600 million around the world in the past decade, and has facilitated implementation of 1,000 MW of projects worth $1.8 billion, and reduced CO2 emissions by 630 kilotonnes per year to date, with a projected displacement of 20 megatonnes of CO2 per year by 2012.