As the world grapples with climate change, let’s talk solutions. What are the long-term ones? The energy sources we currently rely on – oil and gas – are non-renewable, meaning that they draw on finite resources and once those are used up, they’re gone for good. Energy sources that are considered renewable can be replenished, like solar, wind, biomass, hydroelectric (water) and geothermal (the Earth’s internal heat). Imagine that you’re an energy planner tasked with determining your country’s energy target by the year 2050. How do you make informed decisions? What specifically do you need to inform your decisions? What challenges would you face?
Economic growth equals an increased energy demand. Countries need to ensure reliable, secure, safe and affordable energy supply for their populations. And often times countries lack access to high-quality, open (free) data and analysis tools to inform their decisions. Countries need access to a “library”, something that is free and available to everyone, versus a “book” that is available for purchase and only used by one person at a time.
The Renewable Energy Data Explorer (REDE) is a free dynamic, web-based geospatial analysis tool that facilitates renewable energy decision-making, investment, and deployment. It was developed by the National Renewable Energy Lab (NREL) in Golden, Colorado, and supported by the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID). Think of it like Google Earth, but for renewable energy. The tool brings together renewable energy resource data and other modeled or measured geographic information system (GIS) layers, including land use, weather, environmental, population density, administrative and grid data. By combining datasets, users can explore and synthesize information about renewable energy potential to guide planning, policymaking, and investment. I’ve developed curriculum (a series of lectures, labs and a capstone project) using the RE Data Explorer for NREL and we’re in need of some beta testing. Be in touch if interested!