New space tech initiative driving islands' switch to renewable energy
Release Date 19 November 2018
Six island states in the Caribbean, Pacific and Indian Oceans will be supported in their transition from fossil fuels to renewable energy with cutting-edge data from the Institute of Environmental Analytics (IEA).
RE-SAT, an innovative renewable energy analytics platform created by the IEA at the University of Reading, will be rolled out to Montserrat, Palau, St Lucia, Tonga, Mauritius and Vanuatu to guide their transition to sustainable energy.
The partnerships are backed by £2.9m from the UK Space Agency International Partnership Programme (IPP).
RE-SAT fuses satellite and in-situ weather data with advanced analytics toprovide highly detailed reneweable energy information to help users:
- Explore and define the best renewable energy mix
- Plan where to locate different renewable energy infrastructure
- Assess the potential financial viability of renewable energy investments
- Estimate power production and variability, taking into account seasonal weather patterns
The IEA will work in partnership with the governments of the SIDS, their utilities companies, their energy regulators and the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) to tailor RE-SAT to the needs of each state and build the capacity of energy providers, policy-makers and planners to support its implementation.
Colin McKinnon, CEO of the IEA, said: “By working closely with these communities we will provide the quality of data they need to develop sound business cases to switch to renewable sources to a far greater extent. Understanding minute-by-minute variability is a key question as it affects the requirement for reserve energy generation. However, long periods of historic observations are often not available from existing data sources. With our world-leading skills in data analytics we will use Earth observation data to construct a synthetic weather model to improve both the planning of renewable investment and also the management of reserve capacity.
“As RE-SAT is funded by the UK Space Agency International Partnership Programme, the project runs as a true partnership, using the knowledge and expertise of our in-country partners. It is not a one-off consultancy exercise by a third party.”
Graham Turnock, Chief Executive of the UK Space Agency, said: “British expertise and space technology is paving the way in the global transition to clean, renewable energy. This successful international partnership is just one of the ways our Industrial Strategy is increasing our share of the global space market whilst advancing science, jobs and growth, both at home and abroad.”
The roll out of RE-SAT to the six islands follows a successful pilot scheme in the Seychelles.
Minister welcomes partnership
A Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) is being signed to mark the partnership between Montserrat's Ministry of Communications, Works, Energy and Labour (MCWEL) and the IEA.
Paul Lewis, Minister of Communications, Works, Energy and Labour, said: "The Government of Montserrat’s vision to transform to 100% renewable energy on the grid and its green connected and thriving ICT theme clearly merges ICT, telecommunications and energy agenda to create an environment for economic growth. The MoU between MCWEL and the UK-based Institute for Environmental Analytics to implement an innovative, renewable energy analytics planning platform to support the transition from fossil fuel to renewable energy is welcomed.
“This tool will inform decisions pertaining to best possible energy sources and combinations, ideal energy infrastructure locations, estimated power production and variability based on seasonal weather patterns. We embrace the development and use of this tool to inform the Government and private sector renewable energy investments.
“I express our gratitude to IEA and the UK Space Agency for including Montserrat as one of the six small island developing states in their International Partnership Programme. We look forward to working together in the development of our island.”
Permanent Secretary Beverley Mendes added: “The Ministry of Communication, Works, Energy and Labour is pleased to have been afforded the opportunity to be at the forefront of this collaboration between the Government of Montserrat and UK-based, Institute for Environmental Analytics. The development and application of a renewable energy analytical planning platform will allow for more informed decisions to be made as it pertains to the investigation, implementation and improvement of renewable energy sources on Montserrat.
“A number of Government entities have been enlisted in the development process to ensure the platform is equipped with the necessary data. We are looking forward to working with the IEA on such an important initiative.”