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Bay Area Tech Nonprofit To Track Power Plant Pollution With Artificial Intelligence

The Dave Johnson coal-fired power plant is silhouetted against the morning su...

Credit: Associated Press

Above: The Dave Johnson coal-fired power plant is silhouetted against the morning sun in Glenrock, Wyo., July 27, 2018.

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Watt Time said it plans to use satellite imagery and artificial intelligence to track plant pollution and make its data public.

Aired: June 6, 2019 | Transcript

The announcement is startling: air pollution — including carbon emissions — from every power plant in the world will be precisely tracked in real time. This comes from a San Francisco Bay Area nonprofit called Watt Time.

With a $1.7 million grant from the Google Foundation, Watt Time plans to use satellite imagery and artificial intelligence to track plant pollution and make the data public.

"In the U.S. and Europe and maybe Australia you have bodies that are regulating this," Chiel Borenstein, operations and partnerships associate at Watt Time said. "But in places like Russia, Saudi Arabia and India, person X on street Y doesn't really know what's causing the health hazards and the damage to their own life and their own ecosystems. So, if we can open source that data, people will be held accountable and everyday citizens will know what's really going on."

As part of coverage from the KPBS Climate-Change Desk, Mark Sauer spoke with Borenstein about Watt Time's ambitious goal.

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