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Cool Joule

Energy & Environment Nicaragua

Through a randomized controlled trial with six Managuan low and low-middle income neighborhoods the Cool Joule project is testing the effectiveness of different energy data products to induce behavioral energy efficiency gains, reduce household stress as it relates to the household energy budget and energy costs, and empower households (mainly women) by supporting their intrinsic drive to seek energy savings.
Nicaragua is rapidly transitioning to low carbon electricity generation – primarily with wind power – but it still requires bunker fuel oil generators to balance variability from wind generators. Oil is one of the most expensive fuels for electricity generation and relying on it comes at great expense to electricity ratepayers and slows down Nicaragua’s low carbon transition.
The energy data products developed and being tested include the ‘FlexBox’ (wireless sensor network, smart metering and communications infrastructure), optimal control strategies, and a novel end-user recruitment strategy in order to attempt to reduce energy use at times of peak demand. A large-scale implementation of this approach has the potential to reduce grid peak capacity needs, further energy independence, and therefore reduce overall energy use providing for environmental benefits.

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