The global power sector must undergo a seismic transformation in the next 10 years if we are to avoid the worst impacts of climate change, improve air quality and reduce water scarcity. Today's lack of transparent, accessible and centralized power sector data seriously inhibits the ability to conduct reliable research and solve urgent problems in the global power sector.

Power Explorer, co-founded by WRI and Google, will bring together extensive data sets and visualizations to allow anyone to explore and interact with timely and trusted data on the world’s power plants at global, national and individual power plant levels. Power Explorer will show structural shifts to clean energy in the power sector over time, identifying patterns and pathways toward a more sustainable and energy-secure future.

The foundation of Power Explorer is the Global Power Plant Database, the most comprehensive, open-source database for exploring the world’s power plants, released in April 2018. Each power plant is geolocated and entries contain information on plant capacity, generation, ownership and fuel type. As of June 2018, the database includes around 28,500 power plants from 164 countries. It is updated every 4-6 months to reflect new data releases.

Power Explorer will also allow for overlays of power plant data with other key datasets, and eventually host a suite of tools, such as country profiles, aimed at helping decision makers and citizens understand power plant impacts and act on risks facing the power sector from climate change and water scarcity.

This blog post by Resource Watch, 4 Maps Show Opportunities for Limiting Climate Change, overlays existing coal plants with data on solar and wind potential to show areas of unlocked potential for the global growth of renewables.