GIS is emerging as an indispensable tool for improving energy production from renewable natural resources and transforming the method of using these resources.
The global energy demand is on a steady rise and consequently the need for generating energy from renewable sources is becoming all the more important. The rapid environmental degradation coupled with issues of global warming is creating a need at international level for using renewable energy sources to their fullest. Renewable natural resources have the potential to produce cleaner energy that meets the global need without harming the environment. In this scenario, applications of GIS in renewable energy are gaining popularity with its ability to incorporate spatial analysis in sectors such as biomass, solar, wind power plants and so on.
This article examines how spatial analysis improves energy production and delivery, thereby supporting the move towards smarter energy.
Role of GIS in improving the viability of renewable energy
With the growing awareness about the grim possibility of an energy crisis and environmental issues, decision makers across the world are responding by utilizing renewable resources for energy production. This includes using solar, wind, biomass, and geothermal energy sources along with finding methods for producing, transmitting, and distributing energy in a cleaner way. GIS technology can play a significant role in maximizing the energy production by managing the spatial information required for designing, constructing, and operating the various facilities used for generation energy from renewable sources.
Various GIS tools can improve the quality of spatial data and provide quick access to data for better decision making. The GIS maps make it easy to locate the right geographical location where facilities can be installed. Decision makers have access to details about the geography of the entire area that includes the sun angles, street widths, wind patterns, vegetation, boundaries, biodiversity, terrain elevation and so on.
Spatial information is represented accurately on the maps and this makes it easier to communicate the project details among the various stakeholders. Decisions are taken after analyzing all geographical parameters so that the facilities are placed strategically for deriving best results. The maps help to construct sewage treatment plants, geothermal wells, recycling centers, and solar farms according to the available physical space.
Some of the applications of GIS in the field of renewable energy resources are listed below:
- Determine the optimal location for wind farms.
- Terrain analysis and identification of areas with good quality of wind.
- Study the environmental and social impact of constructing renewable energy plants in a particular location. Policy makers can understand the extent of damage it can cause to the habitats in an area.
- Select cost effective locations that are not close to large populations to deliver the renewable energy optimally.
By using GIS technology policy makers can avoid several wastages in the process of energy production from renewable sources. It allows for deep analysis of various geographical areas and avoids selecting the sites that could lead to wastage of resources. The potential of GIS can be used on a global scale where policymakers can examine the renewable energy sources across the world and focus the efforts in the right location.
GIS technology can help authorities to examine and uncover the sustainable energy resources in an area. The data has immense potential for learning about the extent of usage of the energy source and also identify the location for designing renewable energy plants. Since the global demand for renewable energy sources is accelerating, GIS can emerge as a vital tool to simplify the process of energy production and utilize the resources in a viable manner.
SBL is a premier GIS solutions provider and can help your organization with cutting-edge solutions to meet your spatial data requirements. Get in touch with our GIS division to discuss more about your requirements.