New platform to provide researchers with Irish renewables data

25 Feb 2021

Windfarm in Co Cavan. Image: BrightWind

The BrightHub open data platform aims to help analysts and researchers ‘better understand the wind in Ireland’.

A new open data platform for Irish wind and solar resource data has been launched by BrightWind, a Dublin-based wind resource assessment company.

The BrightHub platform aims to provide wind analysts and researchers, in Ireland and internationally, with open access to wind and solar resource datasets. This data can be used to better understand Ireland’s wind and solar energy resources, and to improve day-ahead forecasting of wind energy.

Last year, BrightWind received €162,000 in funding from the Sustainable Energy Authority of Ireland (SEAI) to develop the BrightHub platform. It is now using data from Dundalk Institute of Technology, SEAI, Wind Energy Direct, Greencoat Renewables and several other industry players.

“We are more than happy to share historical wind resource data from some of our operational sites,” said Ben Brooks, asset manager at Greencoat Renewables, which owns 20 windfarms in Ireland.

“We see this as a win-win as the learnings from the resulting research will help accelerate the roll-out of renewable energy infrastructure.”

‘Empower researchers to better understand the wind’

Renewable energy consultancy BrightWind was founded in 2015 by Shane Martin and Stephen Holleran. It is headquartered at NovaUCD, the centre for new ventures and entrepreneurs at University College Dublin.

As well as developing the BrightHub platform, the company has also launched an updated version of its open-source data analysis Python library. This is looking to facilitate cooperation and research activities within the renewable energy industry by standardising access to quality wind and solar data.

Holleran said that these initiatives “will empower wind analysts and researchers to better understand the wind in Ireland”.

“The Python library in particular gives wind analysts across the world the tools to advance their work practices and perform vital research that is currently not feasible,” he added. “We are keen supporters of the open-source philosophy as we’ve seen huge benefits in the software industry which we aim to apply to the wind industry.”

John McCann, programme manager at SEAI, said that the energy authority’s research and development programme aims to support innovations that contribute to Ireland’s low-carbon future.

“The BrightHub platform will facilitate the wind and solar energy sector by providing access to improved wind and solar energy resource data and analysis,” McCann said.

“This platform will in particular provide a resource to small wind and solar energy players such as community projects and renewable energy self-consumers, who can find it difficult to access good quality wind and solar resource data and analysis tools.”

Another recent renewables data project in Ireland to receive funding from SEAI involved the development of an AI tool to predict energy generation at windfarms.

It was developed through a partnership between applied AI centre CeADAR and SSE Airtricity. Earlier this week, it was revealed that the tool has been rolled out at 21 windfarms in Ireland, with the aim of using a combination of historical operations data and meteorological forecasts to accurately predict wind energy production a day in advance.

Sarah Harford was sub-editor of Silicon Republic