Satellites and data are going to help us phase out fossil fuels. Here’s how

Satellites 2018 UNThis article is brought to you thanks to the strategic cooperation of The European Sting with the World Economic Forum.

Author: Matt Gray, Head of Power and Utilities, Carbon Tracker Initiative

Power and industry are responsible for around two-thirds of carbon emissions and half of energy demand, and yet we are frequently kept in the dark about how the facilities that make up these sectors operate. For instance, verified country-level data from the International Energy Agency (IEA) is delayed by up to three years – and outside the EU and US, data is often untimely, unreliable or publicly unavailable.

These data gaps prevent decision-makers from making informed decisions that would help ensure an orderly and timely transition to a low-carbon economy.

Fortunately, this could change dramatically thanks to a revolution happening in space. Every part of earth is now photographed in high-resolution every day. Moreover, satellite providers are offering numerous different sensor types, such as Copernicus’s Sentinel-5 Precursor, which was launched in 2017 and measures sulphuric dioxide, nitrogen dioxide, carbon monoxide, formaldehyde, ozone and methane. This imagery offers a potentially powerful response to those governments and asset owners who are unwilling or unable to disclose timely and accurate data.

To help take advantage of this opportunity, the Carbon Tracker Initiative developed an innovative methodology to explore the extent to which satellite imagery and data science could be used to estimate the utilisation of coal-fired power plants.

Understanding plant utilisation is essential for an economic analysis of power generation assets. It is required to understand economic viability and relative competitiveness, which helps investors, policymakers and civil society develop plant retirement schedules and forecast asset-stranding. The current lack of transparency therefore has the potential to stifle the phase-out of coal-fired generation. We know that to meet the temperature goal set out in the Paris Agreement, one coal plant will need to close every day until 2040. Greater transparency will improve decision-makers’ ability to focus on the key questions: which plants, and when?

While there are barriers to understanding power and industrial facilities from space, satellite imagery coupled with data science will not only improve transparency in these industries, it could potentially upend existing information flows. For example, the accuracy of our model for predicting the utilisation of EU and US coal plants was 92% and 91%, respectively.

We applied our satellite imagery methodology and integrated the plant utilisation results into our climate scenario analysis for coal power in China. This analysis showed that 40% of coal plants in China could be loss-making in 2018.

Satellite imagery can give an accurate picture of coal plant performance when operators can't, or won't

Satellite imagery can give an accurate picture of coal plant performance when operators can’t, or won’t
Image: Carbon Tracker

To meet the temperature goal in the Paris Agreement in a timely and orderly manner, the timeliness and granularity of data from fossil-fuel assets needs to be dramatically improved. To date, satellite imagery has been largely overlooked in the power and industry sectors. This looks set to change as high-resolution daily coverage of satellite imagery becomes the new normal. This situation will give decision-makers access to data flows that were previously unimaginable.

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

the European Sting Milestones

Featured Stings

These campaigners want to give a quarter of the UK back to nature

How to build a more resilient and inclusive global system

Stopping antimicrobial resistance would cost just USD 2 per person a year

Food safety critical to development and ending poverty: FAO deputy chief

Free flow of non-personal data: Parliament approves EU’s fifth freedom

Eurostat overturns Commission’s assessment of the economy

1 in 7 people would choose not to fly because of climate change

Here’s how tech is revolutionising transport for low-income communities in urban Africa

3 ways to fix the way we fund humanitarian relief

Debunked: 5 myths about the future of work

EU Parliament semi worried over democratic deficit

Mental health of health professionals: the alter ego

The battle for the 2016 EU Budget to shake the Union; Commission and Parliament vs. Germany

Robots will soon be a necessity but they won’t take all our jobs

The reason the world showed limited empathy to the Orlando victims

Germany resists Macron’s plan for closer and more cohesive Eurozone; Paris and Berlin at odds

Remembering Kofi Annan

Lack of basic water facilities risks millions of lives globally: UN health agency

How privacy tech is redefining the data economy

Recognize, celebrate and ‘stand in solidarity’ with persons with albinism

The hostilities in south and eastern Ukraine resume; where could they lead?

LEAGUE OF YOUNG VOTERS LAUNCHES TOOL FOR YOUNG PEOPLE TO COMPARE POLITICAL PARTIES AHEAD OF EU ELECTIONS

UN appeals for international support as flood waters rise in wake of second Mozambique cyclone

90% of plastic polluting our oceans comes from just 10 rivers

The European Sting writes down the history LIVE from G20 Leaders’ Summit in Turkey

‘No-deal’ Brexit preparedness: European Commission takes stock of preparations and provides practical guidance to ensure coordinated EU approach

Ercom, cutting-edge Telco solutions from Europe

The Fourth Industrial Revolution must not leave farming behind

Mosul’s ‘3D contamination’ adds to challenges of deadly mine clearance work

Ship Recycling is the Commission’s Titanic

UN refugee agency presses States to aid 49 refugees stranded on Mediterranean

COP22 addresses a strong global pledge to effectively implement the Paris Agreement

EU is not only obsessed with Facebook but also blaims now innocent websites using social plugins to serve democratic dialogues?

Africa Forum aims to boost business, reduce costs, help countries trade out of poverty

EU revengefully shows no mercy to Cameron by demanding a fast and sloppy Brexit now

China is a renewable energy champion. But it’s time for a new approach

Alarming number of Ebola deaths in DRC a ‘rallying cry’ to scale up treatment

Parliament to ask for the suspension of EU-US deal on bank data

Europe plans to send satellites into space to monitor CO2 emissions

We are ‘burning up our future’, UN’s Bachelet tells Human Rights Council

Greece did it again

It’s time for global businesses to accept local responsibility

Belgium: Youth Forum takes legal step to ban unpaid internships

CO2 can be a valuable raw material, not just a climate killer. Here’s how

The US calls off globalization, targets Germany. Paris offer to Berlin comes at a cost

‘Once-in-a-generation opportunity’ will be squandered, warns Guterres, unless social, economic, environmental challenges are met

Assembly of European Regions @ European Business Summit 2014: Made in Europe – Made of Regions

Humans aren’t made for repetition – it’s time AI took over manufacturing

Are e-cigarettes as safe as they claim to be?

Boat made of recycled plastic and flip-flops inspires fight for cleaner seas along African coast

Cyclone Idai: emergency getting ‘bigger by the hour’, warns UN food agency

OECD Secretary-General Gurría welcomes announcement of new trade agreement between the US, Mexico and Canada

Rule of law in Hungary: Parliament should ask Council to act, say committee MEPs

Implementation of tax transparency initiative delivering concrete and impressive results

UN civil society conference to focus on sustainable solutions for challenges of urban life

State aid: Commission approves €431 million public support for cleaner transport in German cities

OECD, UN Environment and World Bank call for a radical shift in financing for a low-carbon, climate-resilient future

Why schools should teach the curriculum of the future, not the past

Brussels to tear down the trade wall with Mexico as opposed to Trump’s “walls”

Shanghai has tough new recycling rules – and it will stop collecting trash from communities that don’t comply

8000 young people in the EP in Strasbourg: “a breath of fresh air for EU democracy”

Is Erdogan losing game and match within and without Turkey?

This tiny new grain could save the planet

More Stings?

Trackbacks

  1. […] que la toma de decisiones de políticas bajas en carbono no sea todo lo precisa que pudiera ser», afirma Matt Gray, director de Energía y Servicios Públicos de Carbon Tracker, un think tank que analiza […]

Speak your Mind Here

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s