Want to keep learning?

This content is taken from the University of Reading & Institute for Environmental Analytics 's online course, Big Data and the Environment. Join the course to learn more.

Visualising potential for renewable energy production

Now you’ve looked at the district level in BOUNTY, take a look at how data can be visualised for a country. The visualisation demonstrates the potential for renewable energy generation in the Seychelles (please note: this video does not contain sound, the text on the video can also be found here).

The Seychelles is a group of more than 100 islands within an area of ocean of 455km2. As an example, this visualisation focuses on one month for the main island of Mahé. The video displays the calculated power generation from a computer model of the weather. The wind and wave power mostly depends on the wind speed, and the daytime solar generation mostly depends on sun angle and cloud cover.

This video visualisation is an introductory demonstration, for potential users to see the output of the platform in an easy way, before they start using the tool itself. The display is of solar, wind and wave power for defined renewable generators at their correct island locations and the visualisation presents how the power generation varies as the weather changes from day to day as well as day to night. One of the main challenges of this visualisation is to present a lot of information simultaneously to the user.

The use of time series and the map is an intuitive way to allow users to gain maximum information from the visualisation. The time series at the bottom of the screen shows the solar power peaks in yellow each day. The light blue of the wind power and dark blue of the wave power show a period of calm conditions around the 10th of the month and a generally windier and greater power production around the middle of the month.

From a purely visual point of view the use of a black background colour scheme contrasts nicely with bright circular pulses for energy, which matches an aesthetic expectation of power being bright white energy.

For plotting the power values, neither the radius nor area of the circles are proportional to the power. If the circles for individual wind and wave generators were proportional to the area, they would overwhelm the rooftop solar and either detail is lost, or wind circles start to cover half the island. Or to put it simply: for visualisation, getting across the overall message is sometimes more important than using the actual values, eg if relative values are difficult to plot next to each other due to large differences.

About RE-SAT

RE-SAT is an energy planning platform. Users can model scenarios to plan and decide which types of renewable energy infrastructure to use, where to locate those assets and find out how much power will be produced, taking into account daily and seasonal weather patterns. The IEA has developed RE-SAT with funding from the UK Space Agency International Partnership Programme. RE-SAT was developed as a pilot product with the Seychelles and the platform is currently being implemented to a further six Small Island Developing States, to support their transition from fossil fuel electricity generation to renewables.

Share this video:

This video is from the free online course:

Big Data and the Environment

University of Reading

Get a taste of this course

Find out what this course is like by previewing some of the course steps before you join: