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European Sustainable Energy Week

Portuguese mathematician contributes to increase renewable energy share through data sharing announced as a finalist in the European Sustainable Energy Awards

Carla Silva Gonçalves, 30 years old from Porto, is pioneering technology to better predict renewable energy generation and maximise the use of renewable energy sources

Very sophisticated mathematical methods are essential to build the energy systems of the future. Despite the many benefits of renewable energy sources like wind and solar, there are challenges to overcome because of their dependency on the weather. Forecasts are important to balance production and consumption considering high integration levels of renewable energy.

Carla Silva Gonçalves

Soon, more and more energy system operators will be able to reliably maximise the share of renewable energy on the grid not just from their own modelling and forecasts but through a data market that combines information from one another. This ‘collaborative forecast’ is the result of Carla’s PhD research in Applied Mathematics and her postdoctoral research at INESC TEC in Porto.

I have collaborated with several companies and institutes on the development of forecasting models that are or will be integrated into digital tools to help decision makers to increase the share of renewable energy sources and reduce the waste of such energy.

Carla Silva Gonçalves

What Carla developed is so original that not only has she published her results in academic journals, but she also submitted a European patent. Carla is exploring two new concepts. One is the collaborative forecasting considering data privacy and the other is the creation of a market mechanism that allows companies to buy and sell (monetise) data.

Ricardo Bessa, Carla's former PhD supervisor

Carla draws inspiration from mathematics to advance the energy transition. Already at her young age and in addition to her pending patent, Carla has published five journal papers and six international conference papers. Although an academic by profession, she collaborates often with industry and validates her proposals in real use cases. Currently Carla’s focus is on the Smart4RES project, funded under the EU’s Horizon 2020 programme, where she is advancing data privacy and data markets to enhance cooperation for renewable energy generation forecasts and in predicting extreme generation events. In 2021, the prototype for this data market was one of five finalists in the EIT Jumpstarter 2021.

I hope to continue to use mathematics to improve renewable energy predictability and contribute to European climate and energy targets.

Carla Silva Gonçalves

In increasing renewable energy use in Europe through data sharing, Carla is contributing to both the EU’s renewable energy directive as well as the digitalisation of the European energy system. Through her work, she is delivering on the European Green Deal, and more urgently, supporting the REPowerEU Plan to accelerate the clean energy transition and increase Europe’s energy independence.

Carla Silva Gonçalves photo
Carla Silva Gonçalves photo

The incoming generation ushers in clean energy for Europe

Carla Silva Gonçalves is one of three finalists shortlisted for the European Sustainable Energy Awards 2022 in the Young Energy Trailblazer category. The award recognises people under the age of 35 carrying out outstanding activities that advance the clean energy transition in Europe and inspire ambitious climate and energy action. The other finalists in the Young Energy Trailblazer category are Marie Jeanmougin and Timea Farkas.

Marie Jeanmougin is a 30-year-old engineer establishing a blueprint for high-impact energy-efficient building renovations in France. Timea Farkas is a 25-year-old research engineer and PhD candidate from Romania whose engagement in three EU-funded projects is improving energy efficiency among SMEs.