Success story - Wind energy
FOSTERING A CLEAN ENERGY FUTURE: PROJECT UKKO
At Earth System Services we are proud of being co-developers of Project Ukko: an online tool especially designed to help the wind power sector make strategic decisions at seasonal time scales. How? Just keep reading.
Wind power generation is the best positioned technology to start the shift towards clean energy, lowering the use of carbon-based fossil fuels. For years, however, the high variability of the wind resource has been a handicap, preventing a larger penetration of wind energy in the energy mix.
Project Ukko uses state-of-the-art climate modelling to provide a semi-operational prediction on the future variation of the wind resource at a global scale. It was born within EUPORIAS, an FP7-funded project aimed at increasing climate change resilience of the European industrial sector.
The science behind wind prediction beyond the next two weeks is a complex issue since data coming out from prediction systems is based on probabilities about the likelihood of the coming season being less, equal or more windy than normal (‘normal’ defined as the average of wind conditions for the last decades). From the climate services point of view, a challenge arose: how to present this information in a useful and functional way to the energy users? How to clearly represent the overall trustworthiness of the predictions? In a nutshell: how to communicate climate information to non-experts effectively?
Project Ukko relied on design and co-creation to face this challenge. And there lied its strength: the right balance between state-of-the-art scientific advances and a sound and clear design tailored to the stakeholders. From the very beginning, a multidisciplinary team of scientists worked together with a panel of energy companies, communication specialists and designers to co-create a tool that met the latest research in the most usable and visually-appealing format.
Isadora Jiménez, one of our science communication specialists and part of the scientific coordination of the project, underlines how “Project Ukko demonstrated that, when science and design interact and collaborate, the outcomes have a wider impact. More media visibility and a proof-of-concept that opened the way to other operational services”. Indeed, the collaboration with the reputed data visualisation specialist Moritz Stefaner was key to being awarded a 2016 ‘Kantar Information is Beautiful’ Award.
The innovative approach taken by Project Ukko built on the experience gathered from prior projects dealing with user engagement like CLIM-RUN and parallel projects to improve tailored climate predictions such as SPECS, RESILIENCE and NEWA. Its success set the foundations for future projects like CLIM4ENERGY and S2S4E.
Climate services is all about commitment with society. And we are proud to contribute with products such as the Project Ukko visualisation tool, a powerful demonstration to narrow the gap between scientists and users and foster the shift towards a low carbon tomorrow: a clean energy future.