Masdar Institute and IRENA Sign MoU to Work Together on Developing Publicly Accessible Atlas of Solar and Wind Resources

September 21, 2018

Masdar Institute Entrusted with Hosting and Maintaining Atlas Servers at Its Sustainable Campus

Abu Dhabi-UAE: 25 January, 2012 – Masdar Institute of Science and Technology, an independent, research-driven graduate-level university focused on advanced energy and sustainable technologies, and the Abu Dhabi-headquartered International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA) today signed a memorandum of understanding to support the developing and advancing of a publicly-accessible atlas of solar and wind resources.

The MoU was signed by Dr. Fred Moavenzadeh, President of Masdar Institute, and Adnan Z. Amin, Director-General, IRENA, in Abu Dhabi. Dr Joseph Cecchi, Provost, Masdar Institute, and Gauri Singh, Director of IRENA Knowledge Management, Innovation and Technology, were present on the occasion.

The agreement ensures cooperation between the two organizations for exchange of information; joint implementation of project activities, analyses and research studies; as well as defining technical compatibility and methodological harmonization and data transparency protocols for solar and wind data. Other areas covered by the MoU include participating in developing the architecture of the global atlas and hosting and maintaining the atlas servers at Masdar Institute; capacity development among stakeholders in participating countries, as well as assisting developing countries to build their renewable energy technology databases.

According to the agreement, Dr. Hosni Ghedira, Director of the UAE Research Center for Renewable Energy Mapping and Assessment, will represent Masdar Institute in the project, while Ali Nimer, Acting Director, Administration and Management Services, will represent IRENA. Dr. Taha B.M.J. Ouarda, Professor – Water & Environmental Engineering, Masdar Institute, is also the Deputy Director of the UAE Research Center for Renewable Energy Mapping and Assessment.

Dr Hosni Ghedira is also an Associate Professor – Water and Environmental Engineering, at Masdar Institute. Before moving to the UAE, Dr Ghedira spent six years at the City University of New York as an Assistant Professor and Research Associate Professor. He also acted as Director of the Environmental Remote Sensing and Image Processing Laboratory at the NOAA Cooperative Remote Sensing Science & Technology Center in New York for more than four years. Dr. Ghedira’s current research interests include: application of remote sensing in environmental monitoring; solar and wind potential mapping; water resources management in water-scarce regions; satellite image processing; and remote sensing algorithm development. Dr. Ghedira has authored and co-authored more than 60 publications in peer-reviewed journals and referred conference proceedings. He has also supervised four PhD theses and 15 M.Sc. theses in the US and the UAE.

Prior to joining IRENA, Ali Nimer was the ICT Department Manager at Masdar, and IT Manager and Program Officer – Science & Technology at Emirates Foundation for Philanthropy. Earlier, he worked as Operations Manager at Injazat Data Systems.

The Research Center for Renewable Energy Mapping and Assessment at Masdar Institute aims to develop regional knowledge and leadership in renewable energy assessment and mapping for the UAE and globally. The Center responds to the objective of the UAE to support IRENA in its advancement of a publicly-accessible atlas of solar and wind resources, particularly for developing countries. The Center is in the process of building profiles of solar and wind resource quality, land use, and grid connectivity in the UAE through partnership between Masdar Institute, the UAE Directorate of Energy and Climate Change (DECC), IRENA and mapping/resource assessment entities, including those already involved in IRENA’s global atlas project. 

Dr. Fred Moavenzadeh said: “The MoU with IRENA comes within the general framework of cooperation between two organizations that continue to promote clean energy and sustainable technologies. As a research-oriented academic institution, Masdar Institute provides the right ingredients to enable innovation and as an international agency that promotes renewable energy, IRENA has similar objectives. We believe the MoU will bring out the synergy in both organizations to develop publicly-accessible data on solar and wind resources. We thank the country’s leadership for helping us develop into one of the most advanced institutions that offers expertise in this domain.”

Adnan Z. Amin said: “IRENA is delighted to enter into this agreement with Masdar Institute, a research-oriented institution that focuses on clean energy and sustainable technologies. Developing publicly-accessible atlas of solar and wind resources is fundamental to widen the use of clean and renewable energy. We are confident that together with the academic and research capabilities of Masdar Institute, we will be able to provide distinctive data that will be useful for everyone who is keen to tap clean energy.”

The aim of the global atlas is to build on existing partnerships and develop an inclusive, open system connecting the major databases and information sources. It also aims at creating as little new information as possible. Instead, the information will be gathered through partnerships, and based on an-open system architecture. This calls for using a state-of-the-art collaborative architecture, which provides an easy and unified way to access the different existing data sets yet from various sources and portals.

In November 2011, an initial prototype of the Global Atlas on Solar and Wind Energy was presented at the Multilateral Solar and Wind Working Group in Berlin, Germany. The prototype was to be refined to better represent user data needs and integrate additional tools and data sets. Several end-user groups discussed their data needs at the meeting. The United Nations Environment Programme is collecting additional end-user information via an online survey.

Established in collaboration with the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Masdar Institute integrates theory and practice to incubate a culture of innovation and entrepreneurship, working to develop the critical thinkers and leaders of tomorrow.  With its world-class faculty and top-tier students, the Institute is committed to finding solutions to the challenges of clean energy and climate change.