Check Out the NREL Renewable Energy Applications

Among the items in the category of “what I care about” are renewable energy and open-source geospatial tools. So I was happy to rediscover the various online tools by the National Renewable Energy Laboratory in Golden, Colorado. Many of the tools have been available for some time but the recent announcement of the RE Atlas application brought me back to them.

RE Atlas is described as:

The Renewable Energy Atlas is an interactive mapping tool to allow users to explore base level renewable energy resource datasets. The intention is to provide a broad overview of available data and provide appropriate links to allow users to explore the data in greater detail.

I have also been browsing around the Solar Energy Prospector, described as:

The Prospector is a mapping tool developed for the Solar Power industry. This tool is designed to help developers site large-scale solar plants by providing easy access to solar resource datasets and other data relevant to utility-scale solar power projects.

The front ends of these tools are built using open-source tools (OpenLayers, Drupal, others). The interfaces provide a lot of capability, including query and download of underlying data. I like that the tools focus on making renewable energy data available to industry and private citizens for decision-making since uptake and investment by the private sector will be needed for renewable energy to gain lasting traction. These tools provide a good example of the potential for collaboration between government and industry to tackle challenging problems.

So, if you’re looking for data related to renewable energy, these tools might be a good place to start.