The Sustainable Energy Authority of Ireland (SEAI) received a Special Achievement in Geographical Information Systems (GIS) Award from Esri, a leading global GIS solutions provider, at its recent international conference in San Diego. SEAI GIS dramatically improves the accessibility of spatial data on renewable energy resources, including wind, geothermal and bioenergy. SEAI was the only Irish winner among 167 winning organisations from over 300,000 eligible candidate projects across agriculture, defence, transport and local government. The SEAI GIS system delivers and shares three significant data sets:

  • The Wind Atlas of Ireland, providing detailed information on wind speeds and wind farm sites, was developed by the UK Met Office under contract to SEAI;
  • Geothermal Maps, showing subsurface temperatures, geologic regions and rock types;
  • Bioenergy Maps, indicating areas suitable for the cultivation of bioenergy crops such as miscanthus, oilseed rape and willow.
The SEAI GIS uses Esri technology following its selection through competitive tender. SEAI chief executive Jim Gannon said: “Ireland has an abundance of renewable energy resources that, used properly, can assist in our move to a low-carbon future. These rich environmental and spatial data resources will support critical decisions about the development of new sustainable energy schemes providing openly available decision-making tools for policy makers, developers and communities alike.” SEAI’s GIS system was launched last year with intuitive features making it easier for users to gain insight into the potential value of existing and new sustainable energy projects, against the backdrop of some of the environmental designations and other constraints that may exist. People can find out about the suitability of a certain area of land for growing bioenergy crops, understand the potential for geothermal energy generation at a specific location or analyse wind speeds at possible new wind farm sites. The information can be accessed for free on SEAI’s website: