Co-benefits of smart and sustainable energy district projects: An overview of economic assessment methodologies
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SubjectCo-benefits; Cost-benefit analysis; Economic assessment; Smart and sustainable energy district projects; Stated and revealed preferences
The concept of “co-benefit” is commonly adopted to define any additional positive impact of a policy, program, or project, arising alongside the desired primary goal. Co-benefits relate to human health and well-being, as well as environmental, economic, and social aspects. The concept, investigated beginning in the 1990s, is recognized today, as supported worldwide by several notable organizations, to provide a better grasp of the economic value of foreseen or applied measures. Nevertheless, given the complexity of achieving complete pictures and understanding many interrelations or cascade effects, co-benefits are often only analyzed locally or measured qualitatively. Therefore, the aim of this paper is to provide an overview of the methodologies for economic assessment that are applicable to the monetization of co-benefits related to Smart and Sustainable Energy District Projects. Starting from a previously defined framework of expected co-benefits, we analyzed the various techniques, identifying the most appropriate with respect to target stakeholders and expected outcomes. As a result, we obtained a clear and comprehensive assessment model, tailored to a specific project type, and operationally applicable. This model would sustain the funding, public acceptance, and political commitment of Smart and Sustainable Energy District Projects, enabling the various stakeholders to better understand the entire economic value of a project, in addition to energy saving and greenhouse gasses reduction
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