Until today, gaining access to high-quality global wind and solar resource information from a reliable, consistent source was not an option for most people, according to Dr. Pascal Storck, 3TIER global director. This information is vital to a wide variety of fields, from energy development, infrastructure, efficiency, and policy planning to agriculture and conservation. However, it is often beyond the budgets of the non-profits, NGO’s, and public agencies conducting this important research.
“At 3TIER, our belief is that better information empowers smarter decision-making,” Dr. Storck stated. “Google's mission to organize the world's information and make it universally accessible and useful is well aligned with our goal, and we are thrilled to be a part of this launch. Together we are truly making a difference for people like James and Allison.”
Open access to global wind and solar datasets is designed to support individuals such as energy consultant, Allison Archambault, and conservation geographer, James Oakleaf. Archambault provides strategic guidance, such as market research, policy analysis and business development, to promote the adoption of sustainable, scalable renewable energy projects, particularly in rural and developing areas.
"My clients have found 3TIER's data highly helpful in painting a picture of renewable energy potential,” said Archambault, founder and principal, Fresh Generation, LLC. “With better visibility into renewable resources, policy makers, companies, and consumers can make better decisions about how to unlock the value of a clean economy. There is an 'ah-ha' moment when people see the resource mix for their place on Earth, so this democratization of data is an important contribution to the public domain."
James Oakleaf and his colleagues at The Nature Conservancy evaluate areas at risk for major development, including renewable energy, with the goal to help mitigate the impacts of new energy projects on wildlife and biodiversity. They will be using 3TIER’s data to support research estimating potential renewable generation capacity in lands of low value for biodiversity conservation, highlighting places were renewable energy development should be prioritized.
“In our research, we hope to show that renewable energy and the environment do not need to be in direct conflict," Oakleaf stated. "Through education, planning, and smart infrastructure growth, there are ways both can exist harmoniously."
Global analysis like this requires a variety of data, and many times these are difficult to obtain, restricted in their use, or quite costly, Oakleaf noted. "Making high quality, accurate global data like 3TIER's publicly available is a tremendous resource for those in the conservation community,” he said.
3TIER’s advanced global wind and solar datasets aim to provide a sophisticated alternative to publicly available sources. Each dataset offers annual average values created using proven, widely accepted scientific techniques and derived from long-term historical weather models of 10 or more years at high spatial and temporal resolutions. The solar dataset, for example, has a resolution 3 to 30 times higher than any other publicly available data source and offers hour-by-hour information anywhere in the world, 3TIER claims.