AI non-profit to track air pollution from every power plant in the world and make data public

Author: David Roberts, Vox, Published on: 8 May 2019

"We'll soon know the exact air pollution from every power plant in the world. That's huge.", 7 May 2019.

...A nonprofit artificial intelligence firm called?WattTime?is going to use satellite imagery to precisely track the air pollution (including carbon emissions) coming out of every single power plant in the world, in real time. And it’s going to make the data public...This system promises to effectively eliminate poor monitoring and gaming of emissions data...When it comes to environmental enforcement, the public can be more...punitive than any regulator. If any citizen group in the world can go online and pull up a list of the dirtiest power plants in their area, it eliminates one of the great informational barriers to citizen action...

The plan is to use data from satellites that make theirs publicly available...as well as data from a few private companies that charge for their data...The images will be processed by various algorithms to detect signs of emissions...Google.org, Google’s philanthropic wing, is getting the project off the ground...with a $1.7 million grant...WattTime...made a splash earlier this year with?Automated Emissions Reduction. AER is a program that uses?real-time grid data and machine learning?to determine exactly when the grid is producing the cleanest electricity...

WattTime is partnering with?Carbon Tracker, a think tank that’s done previous work with satellite imagery, using it for financial analysis of power plants (including a?pioneering study?showing that 42 percent of global coal power plants are operating at a loss), and the?World Resources Institute, which operates the world’s most comprehensive?Global Database of Power Plants...Now there will be a trusted, third-party source of verified information on every power plant...the biggest polluters, and the biggest cheaters, will be exposed...

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Related companies: Google (part of Alphabet)