If 2020 and 2021 were the year of ‘build back better’ often in the face of climate-related disasters, 2022 should be the year we learn from the past and agree to simply build better.
Build better resiliency. Build better resource efficiency. Build better community benefits.
Renewable energy innovation is an area where I see this ‘build better’ ethos in action.
Solar and wind: according to the Canadian Renewable Energy Association (CanREA), Canada needs to increase tenfold its renewable energy production and energy storage over the next 30 years to meet decarbonization goals.
Obviously, this means a massive shift in capital, but it also means a massive shift in how we explore, manage and maintain these new energy locations, which are being constructed both on and off-shore.
One of the big challenges for renewable energy producers is the size of a project’s footprint. We’ve all seen the massive solar and wind farms in the California desert; big solar needs big tracts of land.
The promise of renewable energy innovation is the opportunity to adopt a new way of analyzing how and where we site these new systems, and how we connect these large-scale energy sources to population and industrial end-users.
Systems-level decision-making for the development of new energy systems.
Building better will require private and public sector partners to create renewable energy innovations that can seamlessly produce, transport and store energy across vast distances and across a variety of terrains.
Up until now, accessibility has been a significant challenge for renewable energy producers. If you can’t get to the site to assess its viability, how can you hope to design and then monitor its operations?
In 2022, that challenge will be significantly reduced with the emergence of commercially available earth observation images and data.
Over the past year the Terris Insights page has featured articles about the exponential growth of LEO satellites, about the earth observation start-up sector, and the incredible clarity of satellite images now available in the commercial marketplace.
As I look to the new year, I believe applying these innovations to renewable energy could be a game-changer because it will help decision-makers develop end-to-end solutions for affordable and accessible energy.
Terris’s earth observation platform Terris Pilot helps minimize risk by providing a clear visualization of a company’s environmental impact before breaking ground, all from either your desktop or mobile device. This provides greater insight and monitoring of remote or less-accessible locations, all thanks to a growing array of satellites circling the earth and capturing clear images.
Earth observation technology can capture both a moment in time and a specific place on the earth, perfect for monitoring how and where the sun hits the earth. It’s a process known as solar irradiance, which measures the sun’s solar energy at different points on the earth.
That specificity of images can also be applied to a series of locations, which can assist in determining the most efficient and least intrusive route for new transmission capacity to carry the renewable energy from its remote production location to population centres and industrial complexes.
As I prepare to wrap up this year, I look to 2022 to build better from the ground up and welcome renewable energy’s growth with the clarity of earth observation technology and the knowledge it brings.