EnergizAir Puts Renewables In The Weather Report

If you live in Belgium, France, Italy, Portugal or Slovenia, you might already know about EnergizAir, an initiative to integrate a national report on renewable energy production potential into weather forecasts.

This program was apparently launched a few years ago, but it surfaced last week and just caught our attention when European Energy Commissioner Gunther Oettinger delivered a presentation on it in Brussels.

EnergizAir renewable energy forecast

image via EnergizAir

So what is it? It’s a pretty graphic and some simple numbers that attempt to quantify the renewable energy production possible – from PV, solar thermal and, eventually, wind – based on the weather.

EnergizAir says it gives a percentage figure that represents “the level of electricity production for an average family with a standard PV installation.” It provides a similar figure to indicate the “average percentage of hot water needs that were covered using standard solar domestic hot water systems.” The service also intends to offer a wind figure in the future, which it says will be based on “the amount of households that could have been powered by the production of the wind turbines of the country.”

But while the program says it aims “to embed a renewable energy weather forecast” into TV, radio and print media, the data presented on the website actually looks back, rather than forward, presenting “EnergizAir Indicators” for the previous seven days.

On Sunday, for instance, EnergizAir showed Belgium at 147 percent PV for the period June 16-23 – apparently meaning that given the weather conditions in Brussels over that period, a household with a typical PV system could have produced about 1.5 times the energy it needed, presumably sending the excess back to the grid.

For solar thermal, all five locations were at 100 percent.

The broader goal of the initiative is to promote Europe’s move toward sustainable energy. “Sustainable energy issues can be complicated,” the consortium backing EnergizAir says. “But to succeed in meeting the EU’s 2020 strategy for smart, sustainable and inclusive growth, ordinary citizens need to understand the basic facts about energy consumption and renewable energy production.”

According to it backers, the EnergizAir has so far managed to be picked up by “15 different media” with “an audience of 4 million people.”

Pete Danko is a writer and editor based in Portland, Oregon. His work has appeared in Breaking Energy, National Geographic's Energy Blog, The New York Times, San Francisco Chronicle and elsewhere.