Satellite Data for Business Energy Savings

Conventional energy is expensive for business budgets and the environment, translating into large bills and irreversible climate impact.  To stay

Conventional energy is expensive for business budgets and the environment, translating into large bills and irreversible climate impact. 

To stay afloat, businesses bring efficiency and sustainability into the front, increasingly focusing on renewable energy sources and innovations that can help streamline operations and lessen the environmental footprint. 

Among the latter, a novel solution emerges from the vast expanses of space: satellite imagery. 

Let’s explore how satellite data reshapes the energy landscape with precise insights that enhance businesses’ efficiency and sustainability.

Understanding Satellite Data in Energy Management

A wealth of Earth observation data gathered by satellite sensors enables scientists to examine various aspects of energy production, consumption, and access more deeply, thus empowering decision-making on any scale. 

Energy businesses can better manage their infrastructure by monitoring land and infrastructure changes over time from space. Using satellites as magnifying glasses, they can detect disruptions or inefficiencies in power supply and distribution—such as damaged power lines or pipeline leaks—to take rapid remedial action and minimize losses. 

Moreover, the capabilities of available satellite data are so vast that nighttime and bad weather are no longer a constraint to the monitoring prowess. 

In the grand scheme, satellite images of the Earth fuel the unfolding green transformation of the power generation sector to ensure universal access to clean energy. 

The insights derived from decades of satellite-based observations provide a clear-eyed understanding of the environmental impacts of energy production and support critical decisions regarding the potential locations of wind and solar farms.

Applications of Satellite Data in Business Energy Savings

It should come as no surprise that optical and radar satellite views of the Earth have been used to ensure efficiency at every link within the energy supply chain – from production to consumption. 

The following use cases exemplify the most popular applications where satellite data delivers the most value.

1) Wind and Solar Farms

As the need for renewable energy expansion grows, traditional power generation site selection and planning methods are outpaced by more effective novel technologies, such as satellite data and AI. 

Such advantages as extensive area coverage, reduced need for on-site presence, and a broad spectrum of environmental factors observed make satellites a perfect source of information for energy projects. 

Experts in solar and wind power can analyze terrain, wind speed, sunlight exposure, water flow, total rooftop area available for installation, and other vital parameters to identify locations with optimal conditions for maximum power generation and minimum waste.

Leveraging a regular supply of the most recent satellite images, grid operators can effectively monitor the energy capacity of existing solar panels and wind turbines and their maintenance status. 

Moreover, through the assistance of AI, this data is used to model how the deployment area and its capacity will evolve and what environmental consequences it may have. 

Considering that scarce land creates competition between various industries, such as agriculture, urban development, and the energy sector, offshore wind turbines and floating solar panels offer a promising alternative. However, they require a well-implemented satellite-based assessment.

2) Enhanced Energy Efficiency in Agriculture

Agricultural production requires energy, from fueling farm equipment for laying seeds and harvesting crops to powering animal housing facilities. 

Uncontrolled energy consumption makes farmers vulnerable to high energy costs and leaves an environmental trail behind. Precision agriculture comes to the rescue as a tried-and-tested strategy promoting the efficient use of all farm inputs, including energy.

Through remote sensing analysis, past and recent satellite images inform decisions regarding where, when, and how much farmers should fertilize or irrigate their plans to ensure optimal growth and productivity. 

More output is achieved with fewer inputs. Precision irrigation assists in cutting spending on the most energy-intensive farming aspect: pumping water for irrigation. A decreased number of fertilizer spreader passes reduces fuel consumption and GHG emissions, also contributing to greener production. 

Such a sustainable and data-driven approach holds great promise for removing agriculture from the list of largest contributors to climate change. 

3) Real-Time Weather Tracking and Energy Adjustment

Weather satellites supply loads of real-time meteorological data, allowing businesses to vary their energy consumption correspondingly. Past weather observations covering extensive periods, in turn, prove useful in revealing the patterns of energy demand. 

Based on these insights, energy companies can allocate their resources more efficiently, especially during peak demand hours. Moreover, a thorough analysis of satellite views of the Earth is vital to resilient infrastructure planning, as it helps pinpoint areas prone to extreme weather events. 

At the same time, AI- and satellite-powered modeling boosts the accuracy of weather forecasting, enabling risk mitigation in the energy sector. 

4) Monitoring and Managing Remote Infrastructure

Energy companies heavily rely on current satellite imagery to monitor and maintain their remote infrastructure assets, such as oil and gas pipelines (especially the offshore ones). 

Spaceborne data allows for identifying and proactively managing any arising issues, e.g., pipeline leaks, encroachment, damaged powerlines, etc., saving costs and reducing downtime due to power disruptions. 

When natural disasters strike, satellites provide near real-time view of the affected areas, which may be inaccessible from the ground, to estimate infrastructure damage and prioritize remedy efforts.

Another crucial advantage of having “the eyes in the sky” is their superability to track emissions of planet-warming gases, such as methane and carbon dioxide. 

Many satellites have cutting-edge sensors tailored to detect methane leaks and trace them back to their sources. Early leak detection and repair benefit energy companies, as every oil or gas loss costs them a lot of money, and these toxic substances heavily affect ecosystems. 

Benefits of Using Satellite Data for Energy Savings

Summing up, the insights from up-to-date satellite images increase efficiency,  strengthen security, and build resilience in the energy sector while making it more environmentally sustainable. Let’s go over the major benefits, which include:

  • Cost savings

Satellite data enables optimizing energy use and distribution among energy providers and consumers. For instance, farmers can practice precise irrigation to irrigate only when and where it’s needed. At the same time, energy companies can effectively identify supply disruptions and minimize damage costs.

  • Reduced environmental footprint 

By tracking changes in deforestation, air and water quality, and other environmental conditions, companies can ensure their operations are sustainable and, if not, implement effective mitigation strategies. Large and small consumers can switch to renewable energy sources to reduce GHG emissions and halt global warming.

  • Risk management

By feeding historical and current satellite imagery to predictive ML algorithms, businesses can anticipate weather-related issues and drive out risks of energy losses and supply disruptions.

  • Legal compliance

As more regulations limiting GHG emissions and other detrimental human-induced outcomes are enforced worldwide, satellites are indispensable in monitoring energy generation’s environmental footprint and validating companies’ compliance with the existing environmental standards.

Challenges and Considerations

Although adopting satellite technology offers businesses many tangible benefits, it also poses certain roadblocks. Satellite imagery collection and processing come at a cost, especially when high-resolution data is required. 

Extracting actionable insights involves the use of specialized software and skilled specialists, as well as taking precautions against sensitive data breaches. Businesses may need tech upgrades and training to integrate satellite views of the Earth into current operations seamlessly.

All in all, satellite imagery holds immense potential for boosting the efficiency of energy management and consumption, where consumers reduce their energy bills and energy companies maintain optimal operational efficiency across their infrastructure networks, on and off the shore. 

As global leaders strive to speed up the green transition, Earth observation data takes center stage. It empowers and guides the deployment of renewable energy farms while optimizing the maintenance of traditional energy production plants. 

Investing in satellite data analytics today is a strategic step toward a more profitable and environmentally sustainable business and energy sector.

Peter Kogut
Petro Kogut has a PhD in Physics and Mathematics and is the author of multiple scientific publications. Among other topics, he focuses on satellite imagery processing and application in his academic research. Currently, Prof. Dr. Petro Kogut also works as a science advisor.

Choose Your Energy Supplier

Energy Professionals is committed to finding its customers the best possible rates on electricity and natural gas. Tell us your location and service type and our energy manager will connect you to the most competitive offers.

Switching to an alternate supplier is easy. There is no chance of service disruption, and you'll continue with your current utility for energy delivery and emergency service. Take a few minutes to discover your best offers, and enjoy the benefits of retail energy in your home or business.

1. Energy Type

2. Service Type

3. Zip Code