An online national renewable energy mapping platform is one step closer to reality after the Australian Renewable Energy Agency (ARENA) said it would give National ICT Australia (NICTA) up to $2.1 million in funding.
The project will enable renewable energy project developers to freely access spatial information such as ground measurements and existing infrastructure to assist with site identification. State and local governments will be able to use this information to assist with environmental and regulatory planning approvals, as well as for tracking and promoting projects in their region.
ARENA CEO Ivor Frischknecht said the Australian Renewable Energy Mapping Infrastructure (AREMI) portal would be a valuable planning resource for the renewable energy industry.
“NICTA is developing a comprehensive mapping platform that will make renewable energy projects easier to get off the ground in Australia,” he said.
“Importantly, this will include a centrally accessible repository for ARENA project information and a portal for $15 million of ARENA-funded mapping projects.”
NICTA will work with the Clean Energy Council and Geoscience Australia, and consult with industry stakeholders, to determine what kind of data will be most useful.
Mr Frischknecht said the new AREMI portal will build on national mapping infrastructure with an open source three dimensional platform.
“The new portal will convert and display information in a web browser, allowing multiple data formats from different sources to be displayed side by side. For example, it could be used to compare mapping data from Google, elevation data from Geoscience Australia and solar resource data from the Bureau of Meteorology,” he said.
“This advanced functionality has the potential to further leverage ARENA’s suite of mapping and knowledge projects and give future renewable energy developments a head start on planning.”
The project is scheduled for completion in 2016. NICTA and the Clean Energy Council will be consulting with industry in the coming weeks and will provide regular updates.