04 Oct SELKIE Work Package 4 Lead Inputs into EU Space User Consultation Platform: Renewable Energy
EU Space Week 2022 is being held this week (3 – 6 October) in Prague. The European Space Week, the go-to event for Europe’s space community. From policymakers to industry, start-ups, entrepreneurs, public authorities, investors and users, it is the place to be for anyone interested in current – and future – trends of the EU’s Space Programme. The four days of the event are packed with plenaries, panel discussions, award ceremonies and high-level keynote addresses. The event is jointly organised by the European Commission and the EU Agency for the Space Programme (EUSPA) in collaboration with the Czech Presidency of the Council and the City of Prague.
In preparation for this year’s event, Work package 4 lead Ross O’Connell was involved in providing input to a report for the session EU Space User Consultation Platform: Renewable Energy. The following is a short summary of his input on EO (Earth Observation) trends and research gaps in ORE (Offshore Renewable Energy):
- The key variables of interest to the ORE sector which EO can assist are wind speed, wave height, wave period and ocean current speeds. Accurate information on these variables allows for better assessment of the offshore renewable energy resources at potential deployment sites which do not have in-situ data. It also allows for reduced risk in the installation and operation/maintenance of such deployments.
- The arrival of new Sentinel satellites to the Copernicus Programme in recent years (such as Sentinel 3 and Sentinel 6) increase the volume and coverage of data which can be fed into the Copernicus products used by experts in the ORE sector.
- Adding such newly available inputs to Copernicus products through data assimilation should continue as it has been shown how this can improve the accuracy of such products, in addition to increasing the coverage (O’Connell, do Montera, Peters, & Horion, 2020).
- Important for ORE is also the spatial resolution of these products. The resolution of wave products available through Copernicus is now very good (on the order of 1.5 to 3km). However, wind and ocean current products could be improved. Although ocean current products now have a similar spatial resolution to some of the high-resolution wave products (on the order of 1.5 to 3km), current speeds can be spatially variable even at the local level, meaning that this level of spatial resolution cannot accurately represent localised patterns where tidal energy deployments might be planned, i.e. in narrow channels and sounds.
Ross was invited to the session as an expert in Offshore Renewable Energy (ORE) to discuss how EO can help sector needs. The session was held in the morning of Monday 3rd October. Ross’ input included advising on the need for high resolution energy assessment products for modelling the resources off our coast. The spatial resolution for tidal energy modelling could particularly be improved upon. Furthermore, Ross talked about how newly available oceanographic data from the Sentinel satellites can be fed into existing products through data assimilation in order to better improve the accuracy and measurement coverage. These measurements can also be used to perform validations on the existing products in order to determine their accuracy, provided the same data is not being fed into the product already for fine-tuning.