Global Atlas for Solar and Wind Energy launched

Global database set to accelerate the transition to renewable energies
25 April 2012

Global database set to accelerate the transition to renewable energies - energy ministers attending international forum on low-carbon energy

The International Renewable Energy Agency, IRENA, and the German Aerospace Center (Deutsches Zentrum für Luft- und Raumfahrt; DLR) presented the first Global Atlas for Solar and Wind Energy at the Clean Energy Ministerial Forum, which took place in London on 25 and 26 April 2012. The atlas provides open access to information about where solar and wind energy can best be exploited, and is set to accelerate the development of renewable energy sources.

Open access database

Decision makers and investors can use this atlas to understand the potential of solar and wind energy at any location in the world. The atlas is a database that combines all existing information into one easy-to-use portal. The result is a freely accessible database for making better use of solar and wind power that allows investors to better assess the use of renewable energies in different sites. Politicians and scientists can draw on the extensive data available to develop effective measures to promote and launch new technologies on the market. The initiative is being coordinated by IRENA, based in Abu Dhabi and Bonn, and the Systems Analysis and Technology Assessment Department at the DLR Institute of Technical Thermodynamics. DLR is contributing to the development of the atlas by providing remote sensing data and developing the web portal for the geographical data.

"The atlas constitutes an important database for any country wanting to make better use of its energy potential," says Johann-Dietrich Wörner, Chairman of the DLR Executive Board. "Satellite exploration of the relevant resources and the interpretation and provision of data in a web portal is an excellent example of the use of synergies at DLR. Here, spaceflight and energy researchers are collaborating on an important service to improve global energy supply." Already, a network of global stakeholders from Denmark, Spain, the United States, Germany and many other countries are working on developing the atlas. At the ministerial meeting in London, additional countries joined the initiative.


Better conditions for investment

Solar radiation and wind are the main sources of renewable energy. Understanding where and when they are available is essential for their effective exploitation. “In many parts of the world this information is still very scarce. We want to make this data available with the global atlas. If we succeed in adapting support mechanisms more precisely to the locally available solar radiation or wind conditions, and so increase investment in renewable energies, this will be a big success for the Global Atlas for Solar and Wind Energy,” says Carsten Hoyer-Klick, project leader for the atlas at DLR.

The meeting of energy ministers is being held as part of the Clean Energy Ministerial (CEM) process. The CEM process, which was initiated by the United States, is a high-level global forum that promotes clean energy technologies. Progress in the various initiatives is presented at annual conferences. Germany is involved in, among other projects, a multilateral working group on solar and wind energy, together with Denmark and Spain.

About DLR

DLR, the German Aerospace Center, is Germany's national research centre for aeronautics and space. Its extensive research and development work in aeronautics, space, energy, transport, defence and security is integrated into national and international cooperative ventures. As Germany's Space Agency, DLR is tasked with the planning and implementation of Germany's space programme.