Earth Observation Data From Satellites Holds Promise For Renewable Energy

James Dargan

New Project

A Cornwall-based marine innovation project called Marine-i is utilizing space data for the worthy cause of renewable energy.

Designed by space data specialist 4EI to assist in the reduction of the attached risks and costs connected to the development of renewable energy sites that include floating offshore wind, Marine-i is an initiative between the Universities of Exeter and Plymouth, The Cornwall College Group, Cornwall Marine Network, Cornwall Development Company and the Offshore Renewable Energy Catapult which has been partly funded by the European Regional Development Fund.

“Our overall aim is the creation of a new marine data management and analysis service that will initially be targeted at the rapidly developing floating offshore wind opportunity in the Celtic Sea,” said Richard Flemmings, chief technical officer of 4EI.

Before adding: 

“Improving and expanding system functions and efficiency whilst identifying critical market opportunities will produce direct cost savings and risk reduction for developments in this sector, increasing market competitiveness and accelerating its penetration into the low carbon energy generation market.”

A technology with much promise, satellite Earth observation is able to supply data on weather, sea state, environmental impacts, vessel activity, and thermal signatures.

First Stage

The initial stage of the research project will be backed by Marine-I. Here the team will need to pinpoint novel Earth observation data sources. This could usher in commercialization opportunities by integrating space data and services into the offshore renewables sector.

According to The Offshore Renewable Energy Catapult’s Neil Farrington, utilizing space-derived data could displace more traditional methods of environmental data collection that are heavily dependent on vessels or aircraft and their associated levels of emissions.

While Professor Lars Johanning, programme director for Marine-i, said realizing the full potential of floating offshore wind in the Celtic Sea will require the kind of ‘radical new approaches and cutting-edge solutions’ demonstrated by 4EI.

“This project could have a crucial role to play in helping us to achieve the ambitious targets that we have set for floating offshore wind development over the next ten years,” added Johanning. “It would also put Cornwall at the forefront of a completely new approach to satellite data which would have worldwide applications.”

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