The world’s first open-access Global Atlas of renewable energy resources was unveiled in Abu Dhabi today at the annual general assembly of the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA).
The Global Atlas is the largest ever initiative to help countries assess their renewable energy potential, and companies bringing together data and maps from leading technical institutes and private companies worldwide.
It currently charts solar and wind resources, and will expand to other forms of renewable energy over 2013 and 2014. Its initial features include:
• Display of existing datasets located on different servers worldwide, and sorting of the information depending on the geographic coverage, precision and quality;
• Isolation of the areas with higher solar or best wind resource;
• For Europe, highlighting of the best locations, based on a dynamic ranking of the distance to main population centres, distance to electricity network (if available), protected areas and land use, land cover, hill patterns and terrain elevation;
• A prototype of calculation of technical potentials using simplified models, and a separate page linking to more advanced analysis tools;
• Links to country profiles.
The second phase of platform development will concentrate on providing a selection of advanced analysis tools on energy costs, CO2 emissions and the ancillary effects of developing renewable energy.
"In the next 10 years we expect a huge rise in the investments in renewable energy. The Global Solar and Wind Atlas will help us make the right decisions", said Martin Lidegaard, Danish Minister of Climate, Energy and Building, and President of the 3rd session of the IRENA Assembly.
The launch of the atlas comes as 150 countries gather to chart the future of international renewable energy policy in Abu Dhabi. Nine new signatory countries will sign on to the Global Atlas, bringing the current number of participating countries to 22.
The Internet-based platform, accessible to all at www.irena.org/GlobalAtlas, is designed to raise awareness of the world’s renewable energy potential, and to help companies looking to invest in new markets.
“The Global Atlas provides a powerful new tool in international efforts to double the world’s share of renewable energy by 2030,” said Adnan Z. Amin, IRENA Director-General. “With 22 countries now taking part and more expected to join in the coming months, it is a clear sign of our growing political will to transition to clean, renewable energy.”