A Capacity Building Initiative to Support the Uptake of Earth
Observations for a More Resilient Energy Sector
Access to reliable and sustainable electricity is essential for meeting
the needs of society, such as communications, clean water, healthcare,
and heating and cooling, both today and into the future. Shifts in
extreme weather and a changing climate are challenging traditional and
renewable power grids, as evidenced by widespread outages from events
like hurricanes and heat waves, which are increasing in intensity and
frequency and have the propensity to harm infrastructure and diminish
generation capacity. Understanding the changing climate allows utilities
to be more resilient in proactively producing or distributing energy.
Earth observations (EOs) provide actionable data for monitoring such
change, but better collaboration between scientists and end users is
needed to ensure data is accessible and relevant to decision-making.
Utilizing a capacity building approach, this NASA-funded initiative aims
to promote broader utilization of NASA EOs within the energy sector by
transferring knowledge and bridging the gap between scientists and end
users. To the untrained user, satellite data can be onerous to find and
challenging to apply. To address these concerns, we engaged the U.S.
Department of Energy and stakeholders across the sector to solicit input
on the greatest challenges and opportunities utilities face relevant to
resiliency and the usage of EOs. In response, and through an iterative
process with end users, we compiled relevant NASA EOs into a
user-friendly Esri StoryMap® and developed the first energy-focused NASA
ARSET training, both publicly available, followed by broad outreach. The
StoryMap® aims to reduce the burden of accessing and using EOs by
including only the most applicable data with a focus on terrestrial
variables, such as soil moisture and land surface temperature, along
with tutorials and use cases. The ARSET training provides an in-depth
look at using NASA products to support a more climate resilient energy
sector and presents real-world, illustrative examples of the ways in
which EOs can be used to better understand the impact of extreme events.
This talk will report on the successes and challenges of this capacity
building initiative, highlight components of the StoryMap® and ARSET
training, and share lessons learned in facilitating increased uptake and
use of EOs by the energy sector.