Infrastructure underpins both national economies and citizens’ quality of life. It consists of the physical infrastructure needed, for example, to power homes and businesses and to supply the water that people need, but it also includes the digital infrastructure required to manage the transport of goods efficiently, to exchange ideas, and to stay in touch with family and friends. Infrastructure networks account for a substantial proportion of both government and private sector investment and, given its scale, it is critical that such investment is deployed effectively.
A properly functioning and accessible infrastructure is vital for the sustainable economic development of each country. The facilities and services reliant on infrastructure need to be available, accessible, inclusive and beneficial to all. For example, providing dependable and accessible low-emission transport on land, air and sea is critical to achieve net-zero targets, and is widely recognised as being a key contributor to improving livelihoods and economic productivity. Water management is important for supporting industrial utilities. Maintaining a secure and adequate energy supply is fundamental for society and the provision of the services essential for production, communication, and exchange.
In July 2023, the European Space Agency launched “Space for Infrastructure”, a series of thematic call for proposals, and on October 30th it will open its second thematic area, "Energy", which refers to the physical structures and networks that are used to transport and store energy. This includes power plants, transmission lines, pipelines, energy storage facilities and other related infrastructure.
These structures are essential for the efficient and reliable delivery of energy to consumers. The interconnection of geographically-dispersed energy assets is a key requirement for sustaining the uptake of renewable energy sources, such as wind and solar energy. The infrastructure must be designed, installed and operated in a safe, dependable and efficient manner. It also must be able to manage the increasing and variable demand for energy and to adapt to changing energy sources and technologies.
How can space technology help? Satellite imagery can be used to monitor energy infrastructure, such as power lines, pipelines, and oil and gas wells: this can help to detect and prevent potential structural problems before they occur. Additionally, satellite-based sensors can be used to measure energy consumption in remote areas, allowing for more efficient energy management. Uncrewed solutions including robots and drones hold an enormous potential to improve efficiency and reduce human risks during installation and operation of (renewable) energy plants in remote areas, as well as during the decommissioning phase.
ESA is looking for teams that have identified an attractive market opportunity with real potential to engage customers. Motivation, business experience and domain expertise are all important features. The agency wants to hear about your ideas involving the utilisation of either space technology or space data. In particular, ESA is looking for those opportunities with the potential to become market disruptors to the energy infrastructure markets and with a high level of innovation.
ESA will support Feasibility Studies and Demonstration Projects under an ‘Announcement of Opportunities’:
Feasibility Studies allow successful teams to analyse, design and plan their intended service ;
Demonstration Projects allow successful teams to put their intended service into practice. Teams will test their service in the market by running a pilot with significant users and, by the end of the project, the service should be operational.
How to apply to the call:
Register your team on ESA Star Registration (https://esastar-emr.sso.esa.int) today. If your team is made up of more than one company or organisation, each entity will need to register.
Scroll down to the ‘Downloads’ section of this webpage to download all the official documents. Official documents include a document explaining the scope of this opportunity and the past two webinars hosted by ESA.
Download the Activity Pitch Questionnaire template and submit your pitch as instructed in the Activity Pitch Questionnaire guidelines, through the online form.
ESA will evaluate your pitch. Teams whose pitches are positively evaluated will be invited to prepare an Outline Proposal and then a Full Proposal. Teams must obtain a Letter of Authorisation from their respective National Delegation before submitting a Full Proposal. Contact details of all National Delegates can be found here: National Delegation(s).
The current deadline for the call is December 31st, 2023.
For this call, companies residing in the following Member States will be eligible to apply: Austria, Belgium, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Lithuania, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Slovenia, Sweden, Switzerland and the United Kingdom. The ‘Space for Infrastructure – Energy’ thematic call is issued under the ARTES BASS programme line.