How Earth Observation Can Help Boost the Electric and Power Industry

With the growth of worldwide investments developing renewable energy sources, an increasing percentage of the world’s energy supply is sourced from these naturally occurring and renewable energy sources like solar, wind, and hydro technology.

These renewable energy sources are naturally occurring, and naturally replenishing. But because they are natural sources, natural phenomenon can still have a great impact on solar, wind and wave energy. Earth Observation can help in the management of this energy sector by contributing crucial information to help us maximize the energy yields from these resources.

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For instance, there are global sunshine maps that provide information regarding solar irradiance and average cloudiness, and this information can help pinpoint the optimal sites for solar energy harvesting. The same can be said for wind atlases supplying information on which sites can be considered as more productive wind farms; and information on the movement of sea currents and eddies to provide information in the development of hydropower technology.

At this point, the demand for electricity and power still far outweighs the energy-generating capacity of our renewable energy technology. But while the potential for developing and harnessing these energy sources is considerable, there is still the one important factor of unpredictability.

Sunlight, wind, and hydropower are naturally occurring, renewable, and free to use, but being part of the natural world, they are also subject to natural phenomenon –  something that has never been within man’s control. In practical terms, this means that these kinds of renewable energy sources will never be controlled so as to meet peak power demand as needed. Energy production from these sources is still intermittent, and unless we can come up with efficient storage for the energy generated from these energy sources, these natural renewable energy sources will never be primary sources of energy. They will always need to be supplemented by other energy sources if electricity demands are to be met.

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As it is, Earth Observation data is the closest we can get to maximizing the yield from these renewable energy sources. And as our in situ and remote sensing technologies allow us to refine our observational and surveying techniques, the better we can also optimize our use of renewable energy sources. Not only can we identify the optimal locations for solar and wind energy converters, but we may also be able to predict wind strength and solar insolation over a period of time.

There has been a global shift towards renewable energy sources, and significant effort is being put into the development of technology that would allow us to efficiently utilize these naturally occurring energy sources. Much of the infrastructure is already in place, as well as the services required as Stamford electricians gear up for providing electrical service specific to these renewable energy sources. The outlook is good for this energy sector, and with EO, increasingly better in the future.