Think tank to continue pioneering satellite-based power plant monitoring in collaboration with WattTime and the World Resource Institute (WRI)


LONDON, May 7, 2019 — Carbon Tracker today announced a new project, funded by a $1.7 million grant from, which will use satellite imagery to quantify carbon emissions from all large power plants worldwide and make this information available to the public. Carbon Tracker, in collaboration with WattTime and the WRI, were chosen through the Google AI Impact Challenge to use the data to hold polluting plants accountable to environmental standards and to enable advanced new emissions reduction technologies.

“We received thousands of applications to the Google AI Impact Challenge and are excited to be supporting Carbon Tracker, Wattime and the WRI with funding and expertise from Google,” said Jacquelline Fuller, president of “AI is at a nascent stage when it comes to the value it can have for the social impact sector, and we look forward to seeing the outcomes of this work and considering where there is potential for us to do even more.”

The project will work by leveraging the growing global satellite network to observe power plants from space. AI technology will use the latest image processing algorithms to detect signs of power plant emissions. For maximum accuracy, the project will combine data from a variety of different sensors operating at different wavelengths. AI algorithms will cross-validate multiple indicators of power plant emissions, from thermal infrared, indicating heat near smoke stacks and cooling water intake, to visual spectrum recognition that a power plant is emitting smoke.

“Carbon Tracker was the first organization to pioneer satellite-based power plant monitoring. We are excited to continue this innovative analysis in collaboration with our colleagues at WattTime and the WRI,” said Matt Gray, head of power & utilities at Carbon Tracker.

The project will be led by WattTime, a non-profit based in San Francisco, who pioneered solutions such as Automated Emissions Reduction techniques, which leverage past, present, and forecasted power grid emissions data and machine learning algorithms to allow smart devices to adjust the timing of their energy use to sync with clean energy and avoid dirty energy.

“Far too many power companies worldwide currently shroud their pollution in secrecy. But through the growing power of AI, we’re about to lift that veil all over the world, all at once,” said Gavin McCormick, executive director of WattTime.

The WRI, a global research organization working to secure a more sustainable future, maintains the most comprehensive Global Database of Power Plants in existence today.

“The more transparency we can provide for energy consumers around the world, the more likely we are to solve some of the monumental challenges facing our planet,” said Johannes Friedrich, a senior associate at WRI.

About Carbon Tracker

Carbon Tracker is an independent financial think tank that carries out in-depth analysis on the impact of the energy transition on financial markets and the potential investment in high-cost, carbon-intensive fossil fuels. Its team of financial market, energy and legal experts apply groundbreaking research using leading industry databases to map both risk and opportunity for investors on the path to a low-carbon future. It has cemented the terms “carbon bubble”, “unburnable carbon” and “stranded assets” into the financial and environmental lexicon.

About WattTime

WattTime is a nonprofit with a software tech startup DNA, dedicated to giving everyone everywhere the power to choose clean energy. We invented Automated Emissions Reduction (AER), which allows utilities, IoT device and energy storage companies, and any end user to effortlessly reduce emissions from energy, when and where they happen. Our cutting-edge insights and algorithms, coupled with machine learning, can shift the timing of flexible electricity use to sync with times of cleaner energy and avoid times of dirtier energy. We sell solutions that make it easy for anyone to achieve emissions reductions without compromising cost and user experience. WattTime was founded by PhD researchers from the University of California, Berkeley, and in 2017 became a subsidiary of Rocky Mountain Institute. For more information, please visit

About World Resources Institute 

WRI is a global research organization that spans more than 60 countries, with offices in Brazil, China, Europe, Ethiopia, India, Indonesia, Mexico, the United States and more. Our more than 800 experts and staff work closely with leaders to turn big ideas into action at the nexus of environment, economic opportunity and human well-being. More information at


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