Renewable energy space technology initiative for Vanuatu

Posted October 16th, 2019

The Institute for Environmental Analytics (IEA) is to partner with the Government of Vanuatu to implement an innovative renewable energy analytics platform – RE-SAT – to support the transition from fossil fuels to renewable energy.

The partnership is being formally launched in Vanuatu this week (October 14th – 18th). It has been made possible by investment from the UK Space Agency’s International Partnership Programme (IPP) and reflects Vanuatu’s position at the forefront of promoting clean growth.

RE-SAT fuses satellite and in-situ weather data with advanced analytics to provide highly detailed renewable energy information to help users:

  • Explore and define the best renewable energy mix.
  • Plan where to locate different renewable energy infrastructure.
  • Assess the potential financial viability of renewable energy investments.
  • Estimate power production and variability, taking into account seasonal weather patterns.

Working with national energy stakeholders

The IEA is visiting Vanuatu from October 14th to 18th to meet with the Government of Vanuatu and key national stakeholders with an interest in the energy sector to tailor RE-SAT to their needs and build the capacity of stakeholders to support its implementation, combining the IEA’s expertise with in-country knowledge and skills.

Meetings will be held with: Ministry of Climate Change Adaptation – Department of Energy, the Vanuatu Meteorology and Geohazards Department, the Utilities Regulator Authority, utility companies UNELCO and VUI, and the Ministry of Lands & Natural Resources. These meetings will be followed by the first RE-SAT workshop to introduce RE-SAT to the Vanuatu partners and to begin preparations to deploy the software within Vanuatu.

Colin McKinnon, CEO of the IEA, said: “By working closely with Vanuatu we will provide the quality of data needed to develop a sound business case to switch to renewable sources to a far greater extent. Understanding minute-by-minute variability is a key question as it affects the requirement for reserve energy generation. However, long periods of historic observations are often not available from existing data sources. With our world-leading skills in data analytics we will use Earth observation data to construct a synthetic weather model for Vanuatu to improve both the planning of renewable investment and also the management of reserve capacity.

A true partnership with Vanuatu

“As RE-SAT is funded by the UK Space Agency’s International Partnership Programme, the project runs as a true partnership, using the knowledge and expertise of our partners in Vanuatu. It is not a one-off consultancy exercise by a third party.

“SPC (the Pacific Community) and PCREEE (the Pacific Centre for Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency) have been very supportive of RE-SAT and we are grateful for their help in connecting with our Pacific partner nations.”

Vanuatu launched its National Energy Road Map (NERM) policy in 2016, committing to reach 65% renewable energy production by 2020 and 100% by 2030, therefore transitioning from imported diesel fuel to renewable and environmentally friendly energy sources.

RE-SAT can help select renewable energy sites

In a statement, the Vanuatu Government said that a software tool such as RE-SAT will greatly assist Vanuatu to map out potential renewable energy sites that its Department of Energy would use to implement renewable energy projects.

The statement added: “The Vanuatu Government, through the Department of Energy is truly honoured for such initiative from the RE-SAT team and the UK Space Agency’s IPP for funding this project but more importantly, selecting Vanuatu out of numerous small island developing states (SIDS) to implement this project.

Developing RE energy sector

“The Department of Energy with its related Government and private stakeholders will collaborate to make the most of the tool to develop Vanuatu’s energy sector in the renewable energy space.”

Graham Turnock, Chief Executive of the UK Space Agency, said: “We’re proud to support Vanuatu in their transition from fossil fuels to renewable energy, which will deliver greater self-sufficiency while reducing global carbon emissions to combat climate change.”

Vanuatu is one of six small island developing states (SIDS) to benefit from £3.8m investment from the UK Space Agency IPP in RE-SAT. The others are: Mauritius, Montserrat, Palau, Tonga and St Lucia.

Find out more about RE-SAT at https://www.re-sat.com/

Watch the RE-SAT information video at https://www.the-iea.org/re-sat_video/

Brightly coloured cartoon illustrates how RE-SAT supports renewable energy
RE-SAT uses Earth observation and environmental data to support small island developing states transition from fossil fuels to renewable energy.

Click on the image to watch the Introduction To Re-SAT animation.