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Microsoft and partners to launch 'first-of-its-kind living atlas' ahead of COP27

Microsoft Planet and The Nature Conservancy logos

The United Nations Climate Change Conference, COP27, is around the corner (Sharm El-Sheik, Egypt, Nov. 6-18, 2022), and Microsoft, Planet Labs PBC, and The Nature Conservancy have come together with an aim to launch the Global Renewables Watch (GRW). The latest resource will be a "first-of-its-kind living atlas" designed to map and measure solar and wind installations with the help of artificial intelligence (AI) and satellite imagery.

The GRW will act as a publicly available renewable energy atlas and will enable users to assess clean energy transition development and track trends over time. In addition, it will display the renewable energy capacity of countries, aid in comprehending that capacity, and identify patterns about the possible impact of renewable energy.

Microsoft VP and Chief Data Scientist, Juan Lavista Ferres commented on the role the Global Renewables Watch will play, stating:

The world needs access to data in order to make responsible environmental decisions, and the Global Renewables Watch will serve as a critical tool for understanding humanity’s progress toward fulfilling the goals of the Paris Climate Agreement and meeting the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 7 to ensure access to affordable, reliable, sustainable and modern energy for all.

The joint program will be supported by Microsoft's AI and platform technology, Planet's underlying satellite imagery, and The Nature Conservancy's overlaying of the subject-matter expertise to inspect the output.

The Nature Conservancy's CEO, Jennifer Morris talked about the GRW as a tool to help researchers and policymakers, saying:

The theme for Climate Week NYC this year is ‘getting it done,’ and to do that, we need to move from pledges to progress. Global Renewables Watch, which is a result of collaboration between Microsoft, The Nature Conservancy and Planet, is exactly the kind of action we need to see. This will be a publicly accessible resource to help researchers and policymakers understand current capacities and gaps so that decision-makers can scale much-needed renewable energy resources in a responsible, nature-friendly way.

Along with the initial mapping of solar and wind energy installations in Germany and India, and solar installations in Brazil and Egypt completed, the alliance will continue mapping more countries while creating awareness of the resource.

Last year, Microsoft was also one of the principal partners for COP26 in Glasgow. The tech giant mentions that the first full global inventory is expected to be completed by 2023. To access the GRW's data and findings, you can head over to the dedicated webpage here.

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