Earth observations have played an increasing role in informing decision making in the energy sector. In renewable
energy applications, spaceborne observations now routinely augment sparse ground-based observations for solar energy
resource assessment. As one of the nine Global Earth Observing System of Systems (GEOSS) societal benefit areas, the
enhancement of policy and management decision making in the energy sector is receiving considerable attention in
activities conducted by the Committee on Earth Observation Satellites (CEOS). We describe current projects being
conducted by CEOS member agencies to partner with end-user energy decision makers to enhance their decision support
systems using space-based observations. These prototype projects have frequently been pursued through the Group on
Earth Observations (GEO) Energy Community of Practice and, more recently, in collaboration with the CEOS Energy
societal benefit area (SBA). Several case studies exhibiting the utility of Earth observations to enhance renewable energy
resource assessment, forecast space-weather impacts on the power grid, and optimize energy efficiency in the built
environment are discussed.
The Group on Earth Observations (GEO) is driving a paradigm shift in the Earth Observation community, refocusing
Earth observing systems on GEO Societal Benefit Areas (SBA). Over the short history of space-based Earth observing
systems most decisions have been made based on improving our scientific understanding of the Earth with the implicit
assumption that this would serve society well in the long run. The space agencies responsible for developing the
satellites used for global Earth observations are typically science driven. The innovation of GEO is the call for
investments by space agencies to be driven by global societal needs. This paper presents the preliminary findings of an
analysis focused on the observational requirements of the GEO Energy SBA. The analysis was performed by the
Committee on Earth Observation Satellites (CEOS) Systems Engineering Office (SEO) which is responsible for
facilitating the development of implementation plans that have the maximum potential for success while optimizing the
benefit to society. The analysis utilizes a new taxonomy for organizing requirements, assesses the current gaps in spacebased
measurements and missions, assesses the impact of the current and planned space-based missions, and presents a
set of recommendations.
The environmental and health effects of wildfires are discussed. The monitoring of wildfires from aircraft using remote sensing techniques is reviewed. A future autonomous aerial observing system for fire monitoring is described.