This was 2020 for WeGaw — What a ride!
I mean yes, 2020 was a rollercoaster for almost all of us. But in retrospect, there are exciting events and valuable learnings to extract from this year for all of us. For WeGaw this meant: new team members, new partners, new technology, new clients, and a lot of exciting new developments!
Let’s have a look!
The team continues growing
First, Thomas James, our Neural Network magician, joined the team from UCL to strengthen our EO capacities. He introduced several Deep Learning algorithms to improve DeFROST and developed new capabilities, such as dry snow detection. Just a month later, EPFL’s environmental engineer Hugo Cruz became part of WeGaw, bringing crucial hydrological modelling knowledge on board and helped us ace our projects. Both joined the team with the critical mission of answering our customers’ core question:
“What’s happening with the snow and how does it impact my business?”
Outside the frontline of action, we have taken the advantage of doing home office to clean the house and create some solid pillars for our future growth. The man behind the curtains, Ivan Schouker, joined the board in June to solidify the governance of WeGaw, creating some professional employee option schema, advisory board and general process of governance.
Another ESA engagement
In summer 2020, we started our contract change with ESA to fully integrate RADAR information in our system.
We’re now taking full advantage of Sentinel-1’s Synthetic Aperture RADAR (SAR) data. This is not only have a full snow cover extent product independent from cloud coverage or the infamous nightline, but it also allows us and our customers to extract information regarding wetness of the snow. Knowing this has proven to be beneficial to indicate imminent melting events and help hydropower generators prepare for them.
The first results are in!
2020 was one of the most important years for WeGaw so far, as we have earned the trust of several leading European energy corporations. We demonstrated that DeFROST, our snow & water monitoring product, works by reducing water spill and increasing clean energy production. So far we have demonstrated in operational environments:
- WeGaw hydropower customers reduce water spill up to 30%
- WeGaw hydropower customers improve energy production up to 10%
How do we achieve this? By monitoring extent, wetness, and depth of the snow and accurately observing when it melts (depending on geography, we can help energy producers know when to expect a melting event 4–10 days in advance!).
This is a significant improvement for the hydropower sector across Europe. By applying this technology we could improve on average 5% of the total MWh production of these power plants. Producing 529 TWh yearly, we could actually generate additional 26.45 TWh for Europe without spending a cent. This is a whooping annual $ 1B opportunity for European electric utilities!
But let the number speak for themselves!
2020 has been the year when our customers have seen how our Earth Observation technology can be a game changer for them. But let the numbers speak for themselves:
- 40% YoY average growth, since 2018
- 1 ESA contract
- 5 Team members
- 4 Customers
- 2 Industrial partnerships
- 1 Board member
Let’s see how 2021 goes, so far, I would say we are ready for trouble!