Special Issue "GIS for Renewable Energy"

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A special issue of ISPRS International Journal of Geo-Information (ISSN 2220-9964).

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (28 February 2014)

Special Issue Editor

Guest Editor
Prof. Dr. Martin Raubal (Website)

Institute of Cartography and Geoinformation, ETH Zürich, HIL G 27.3, Wolfgang-Pauli-Strasse 15, 8093 Zurich, Switzerland
Interests: areas of mobile GIS & LBS; spatial cognitive engineering; mobile eye-tracking; GIS for renewable energy analysis

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

Renewable Energy (RE) is becoming more and more important for the supply of the increasing global energy demand, especially in conjunction with decisions to abandon nuclear energy in some countries. GIS can support the process of RE integration in many ways, such as finding potential areas for solar, biomass, and wind power plants; estimating the RE potential at macro- and micro scales integrating physical modeling; and analyzing the technical, economic, and social impact of RE projects.
The aim of this special issue is to publish original research or review papers in order to stimulate further discussion on the spatio-temporal analysis of RE deployment and integration. It is my pleasure to encourage both theoretical and application-oriented papers on the matter with the support of the International Society for Photogrammetry and Remote Sensing, promoting an advanced forum for the science and technology of geographic information.

Prof. Dr. Martin Raubal
Guest Editor

Submission

Manuscripts should be submitted online at www.mdpi.com by registering and logging in to this website. Once you are registered, click here to go to the submission form. Manuscripts can be submitted until the deadline. Papers will be published continuously (as soon as accepted) and will be listed together on the special issue website. Research articles, review articles as well as communications are invited. For planned papers, a title and short abstract (about 100 words) can be sent to the Editorial Office for announcement on this website.

Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are refereed through a peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. ISPRS International Journal of Geo-Information is an international peer-reviewed Open Access monthly journal published by MDPI.

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal is 900 CHF (Swiss Francs).


Keywords

  • GIS
  • renewable energy
  • spatio-temporal analysis
  • wind, biomass and solar technology
  • power generation; physical modeling
  • energy policy
  • environmental science
  • geography
  • economy
  • social science

Published Papers (10 papers)

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Research

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Open AccessArticle A Geospatial Approach for Prioritizing Wind Farm Development in Northeast Nebraska, USA
ISPRS Int. J. Geo-Inf. 2014, 3(3), 968-979; doi:10.3390/ijgi3030968
Received: 6 March 2014 / Revised: 2 July 2014 / Accepted: 9 July 2014 / Published: 17 July 2014
Cited by 2 | PDF Full-text (1721 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Being cleaner and climate friendly, wind energy has been increasingly utilized to meet the ever-growing global energy demands. In the State of Nebraska, USA, a wide gap exists between wind resource and actual energy production, and it is imperative to expand the [...] Read more.
Being cleaner and climate friendly, wind energy has been increasingly utilized to meet the ever-growing global energy demands. In the State of Nebraska, USA, a wide gap exists between wind resource and actual energy production, and it is imperative to expand the wind energy development. Because of the formidable costs associated with wind energy development, the locations for new wind turbines need to be carefully selected to provide the greatest benefit for a given investment. Geographic Information Systems (GIS) have been widely used to identify the suitable wind farm locations. In this study, a GIS-based multi-criteria approach was developed to identify the areas that are best suited to wind energy development in Northeast Nebraska, USA. Seven criteria were adopted in this method, including distance to roads, closeness to transmission lines, population density, wind potential, land use, distance to cities, slope and exclusionary areas. The suitability of wind farm development was modeled by a weighted overlay of geospatial layers corresponding to these criteria. The results indicate that the model is capable of identifying locations highly suited for wind farm development. The approach could help identify suitable wind farm locations in other areas with a similar geographic background. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue GIS for Renewable Energy)
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Open AccessArticle Design of a GIS-Based Web Application for Simulating Biofuel Feedstock Yields
ISPRS Int. J. Geo-Inf. 2014, 3(3), 929-941; doi:10.3390/ijgi3030929
Received: 4 March 2014 / Revised: 24 June 2014 / Accepted: 8 July 2014 / Published: 16 July 2014
Cited by 3 | PDF Full-text (391 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Short rotation woody crops (SRWC), such as hybrid poplar, have the potential to serve as a valuable feedstock for cellulosic biofuels. Spatial estimates of biomass yields under different management regimes are required for assisting stakeholders in making better management decisions and to [...] Read more.
Short rotation woody crops (SRWC), such as hybrid poplar, have the potential to serve as a valuable feedstock for cellulosic biofuels. Spatial estimates of biomass yields under different management regimes are required for assisting stakeholders in making better management decisions and to establish viable woody cropping systems for biofuel production. To support stakeholders in their management decisions, we have developed a GIS-based web interface using a modified 3PG model for spatially predicting poplar biomass yields under different management and climate conditions in the U.S. Pacific Northwest region. The application is implemented with standard HTML5 components, allowing its use in a modern browser and dynamically adjusting to the client screen size and device. In addition, cloud storage of the results makes them accessible on any Internet-enabled device. The web interface appears simple, but is powerful in parameter manipulation and in visualizing and sharing the results. Overall, this application comprises dynamic features that enable users to run SRWC crop growth simulations based on GIS information and contributes significantly to choosing appropriate feedstock growing locations, anticipating the desired physiological properties of the feedstock and incorporating the management and policy analysis needed for growing hybrid poplar plantations. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue GIS for Renewable Energy)
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Open AccessArticle Determination of Suitable Areas for the Generation of Wind Energy in Germany: Potential Areas of the Present and Future
ISPRS Int. J. Geo-Inf. 2014, 3(3), 942-967; doi:10.3390/ijgi3030942
Received: 7 March 2014 / Revised: 5 June 2014 / Accepted: 8 July 2014 / Published: 16 July 2014
PDF Full-text (2760 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Shortly after the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear disaster in 2011, the Federal Government of Germany decided to change the structure of the country’s energy supply system by ending nuclear energy conversion and strongly promoting the development of renewable energies. In order to politically [...] Read more.
Shortly after the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear disaster in 2011, the Federal Government of Germany decided to change the structure of the country’s energy supply system by ending nuclear energy conversion and strongly promoting the development of renewable energies. In order to politically set the course for sustainable energy supply in this time of transition, it is important to analyze the factors influencing the future development of renewable energies. This work contributes to this purpose in the field of onshore wind electricity generation by displaying the temporal development of areas suitable for wind energy use. The availability of such areas is crucial to the extension of sites for wind energy plants. In our approach, the current potential area is determined by excluding areas unsuitable for this kind of electricity generation. For the determination of potential areas of the future, assumptions are made based on the expansion of settlement and traffic areas, and the occupation of protection areas. According to various scenarios, a decline of potential areas between 3% and 8% between 2011 and 2030 is indicated. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue GIS for Renewable Energy)
Open AccessArticle A Geographical-Based Multi-Criteria Approach for Marine Energy Farm Planning
ISPRS Int. J. Geo-Inf. 2014, 3(2), 781-799; doi:10.3390/ijgi3020781
Received: 13 March 2014 / Revised: 15 May 2014 / Accepted: 15 May 2014 / Published: 26 May 2014
Cited by 1 | PDF Full-text (1044 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
The objective of this paper is to devise a strategy for developing a flexible tool to efficiently install a marine energy farm in a suitable area. The current methodology is applied to marine tidal current, although it can be extended to other [...] Read more.
The objective of this paper is to devise a strategy for developing a flexible tool to efficiently install a marine energy farm in a suitable area. The current methodology is applied to marine tidal current, although it can be extended to other energy contexts with some adaptations. We introduce a three-step approach that searches for marine farm sites and technological solutions. The methodology applied is based on a combination of Geographic Information Systems (GIS), multi-criteria analysis (MCA) and an optimization algorithm. The integration of GIS and MCA is at the core of the search process for the best-suited marine areas, taking into account geographical constraints, such as human activity, pressure on the environment and technological opportunities. The optimization step of the approach evaluates the most appropriate technologies and farm configurations in order to maximize the quantity of energy produced while minimizing the cost of the farm. Three main criteria are applied to finally characterize a location for a marine energy farm: the global cost of the project, the quantity of energy produced and social acceptance. The social acceptance criterion is evaluated by the MCA method, Electre III, while the optimization of the energy cost is approximated by a genetic algorithm. The whole approach is illustrated by a case study applied to a maritime area in North-West France. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue GIS for Renewable Energy)
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Open AccessArticle Spatial Analysis of Biomass Resources within a Socio-Ecologically Heterogeneous Region: Identifying Opportunities for a Mixed Feedstock Stream
ISPRS Int. J. Geo-Inf. 2014, 3(1), 209-232; doi:10.3390/ijgi3010209
Received: 4 January 2014 / Revised: 21 January 2014 / Accepted: 29 January 2014 / Published: 25 February 2014
Cited by 5 | PDF Full-text (1076 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Local bioenergy will play a crucial role in national and regional sustainable energy strategies. Effective siting and feedstock procurement strategies are critical to the development and implementation of bioenergy systems. This paper aims to improve spatial decision-support in this domain by shifting [...] Read more.
Local bioenergy will play a crucial role in national and regional sustainable energy strategies. Effective siting and feedstock procurement strategies are critical to the development and implementation of bioenergy systems. This paper aims to improve spatial decision-support in this domain by shifting focus from homogenous (forestry or agricultural) regions toward heterogeneous regions—i.e., areas with a presence of both forestry and agricultural activities; in this case, eastern Ontario, Canada. Multiple land-cover and resource map series are integrated in order to produce a spatially distributed GIS-based model of resource availability. These data are soft-linked with spreadsheet-based linear models in order to estimate and compare the quantity and supply-cost of the full range of non-food bioenergy feedstock available to a prospective developer, and to assess the merits of a mixed feedstock stream relative to a homogenous feedstock stream. The method is applied to estimate bioenergy production potentials and biomass supply-cost curves for a number of cities in the study region. Comparisons of biomass catchment areas; supply-cost curves; resource density maps; and resource flow charts demonstrate considerable strategic and operational advantages to locating a facility within the region’s “transition zone” between forestry and agricultural activities. Existing and emerging bioenergy technologies that are feedstock agnostic and therefore capable of accepting a mixed-feedstock stream are reviewed with emphasis on “intermediates” such as wood pellets; biogas; and bio-oils, as well as bio-industrial clusters. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue GIS for Renewable Energy)
Open AccessArticle Model for Determining Geographical Distribution of Heat Saving Potentials in Danish Building Stock
ISPRS Int. J. Geo-Inf. 2014, 3(1), 143-165; doi:10.3390/ijgi3010143
Received: 30 November 2013 / Revised: 15 January 2014 / Accepted: 20 January 2014 / Published: 5 February 2014
Cited by 4 | PDF Full-text (1402 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Since the global oil crisis in the 1970s, Denmark has followed a path towards energy independency by continuously improving its energy efficiency and energy conservation. Energy efficiency was mainly tackled by introducing a high number of combined heat and power plants in [...] Read more.
Since the global oil crisis in the 1970s, Denmark has followed a path towards energy independency by continuously improving its energy efficiency and energy conservation. Energy efficiency was mainly tackled by introducing a high number of combined heat and power plants in the system, while energy conservation was predominantly approached by implementing heat saving measures. Today, with the goal of 100% renewable energy within the power and heat sector by the year 2035, reductions in energy demand for space heating and the preparation of domestic hot water remain at the top of the agenda in Denmark. A highly detailed model for determining heat demand, possible heat savings and associated costs in the Danish building stock is presented. Both scheduled and energy-saving renovations until year 2030 have been analyzed. The highly detailed GIS-based heat atlas for Denmark is used as a container for storing data about physical properties for 2.5 million buildings in Denmark. Consequently, the results of the analysis can be represented on a single building level. Under the assumption that buildings with the most profitable heat savings are renovated first, the consequences of heat savings for the economy and energy system have been quantified and geographically referenced. The possibilities for further improvements of the model and the application to other geographical regions have been discussed. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue GIS for Renewable Energy)
Open AccessArticle Developing a GIS-Based Visual-Acoustic 3D Simulation for Wind Farm Assessment
ISPRS Int. J. Geo-Inf. 2014, 3(1), 29-48; doi:10.3390/ijgi3010029
Received: 24 November 2013 / Revised: 20 December 2013 / Accepted: 7 January 2014 / Published: 17 January 2014
Cited by 9 | PDF Full-text (1020 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Public landscape impact assessment of renewable energy installations is crucial for their acceptance. Thus, a sound assessment basis is crucial in the implementation process. For valuing landscape perception, the visual sense is the dominant human sensory component. However, the visual sense provides [...] Read more.
Public landscape impact assessment of renewable energy installations is crucial for their acceptance. Thus, a sound assessment basis is crucial in the implementation process. For valuing landscape perception, the visual sense is the dominant human sensory component. However, the visual sense provides only partial information about our environment. Especially when it comes to wind farm assessments, noise produced by the rotating turbine blades is another major impact factor. Therefore, an integrated visual and acoustic assessment of wind farm projects is needed to allow lay people to perceive their impact adequately. This paper presents an approach of linking spatially referenced auralizations to a GIS-based virtual 3D landscape model. We demonstrate how to utilize a game engine for 3D visualization of wind parks, using geodata as a modeling basis. In particular, the controlling and recording of specific parameters in the game engine is shown in order to establish a link to the acoustical model. The resulting prototype has high potential to complement conventional tools for an improved public impact assessment of wind farms. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue GIS for Renewable Energy)
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Open AccessArticle Utilizing GIS to Examine the Relationship Between State Renewable Portfolio Standards and the Adoption of Renewable Energy Technologies
ISPRS Int. J. Geo-Inf. 2014, 3(1), 1-17; doi:10.3390/ijgi3010001
Received: 11 November 2013 / Revised: 3 December 2013 / Accepted: 16 December 2013 / Published: 24 December 2013
Cited by 2 | PDF Full-text (1054 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
In the United States, there is no comprehensive energy policy at the federal level. To address issues as diverse as climate change, energy security, and economic development, individual states have increasingly implemented Renewable Portfolio Standards (RPSs), which mandate that utility providers include [...] Read more.
In the United States, there is no comprehensive energy policy at the federal level. To address issues as diverse as climate change, energy security, and economic development, individual states have increasingly implemented Renewable Portfolio Standards (RPSs), which mandate that utility providers include a specified amount of electricity from renewable energy sources in their total energy portfolios. Some states have included incentives for individual energy technologies in their RPS, such as solar electric (also called photovoltaic or PV technology). Here, we use GIS to visualize adoption of RPSs and electricity generation from renewable energy sources in the US and examine changes in renewable electricity and solar electric generation over time with the goal of informing future policies aimed at promoting the adoption of renewable energy technologies. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue GIS for Renewable Energy)
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Review

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Open AccessReview GIS-Based Planning and Modeling for Renewable Energy: Challenges and Future Research Avenues
ISPRS Int. J. Geo-Inf. 2014, 3(2), 662-692; doi:10.3390/ijgi3020662
Received: 4 March 2014 / Revised: 24 April 2014 / Accepted: 25 April 2014 / Published: 9 May 2014
Cited by 8 | PDF Full-text (706 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
In the face of the broad political call for an “energy turnaround”, we are currently witnessing three essential trends with regard to energy infrastructure planning, energy generation and storage: from planned production towards fluctuating production on the basis of renewable energy sources, [...] Read more.
In the face of the broad political call for an “energy turnaround”, we are currently witnessing three essential trends with regard to energy infrastructure planning, energy generation and storage: from planned production towards fluctuating production on the basis of renewable energy sources, from centralized generation towards decentralized generation and from expensive energy carriers towards cost-free energy carriers. These changes necessitate considerable modifications of the energy infrastructure. Even though most of these modifications are inherently motivated by geospatial questions and challenges, the integration of energy system models and Geographic Information Systems (GIS) is still in its infancy. This paper analyzes the shortcomings of previous approaches in using GIS in renewable energy-related projects, extracts distinct challenges from these previous efforts and, finally, defines a set of core future research avenues for GIS-based energy infrastructure planning with a focus on the use of renewable energy. These future research avenues comprise the availability base data and their “geospatial awareness”, the development of a generic and unified data model, the usage of volunteered geographic information (VGI) and crowdsourced data in analysis processes, the integration of 3D building models and 3D data analysis, the incorporation of network topologies into GIS, the harmonization of the heterogeneous views on aggregation issues in the fields of energy and GIS, fine-grained energy demand estimation from freely-available data sources, decentralized storage facility planning, the investigation of GIS-based public participation mechanisms, the transition from purely structural to operational planning, data privacy aspects and, finally, the development of a new dynamic power market design. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue GIS for Renewable Energy)
Open AccessReview Mapping the Potential for Biofuel Production on Marginal Lands: Differences in Definitions, Data and Models across Scales
ISPRS Int. J. Geo-Inf. 2014, 3(2), 430-459; doi:10.3390/ijgi3020430
Received: 20 December 2013 / Revised: 19 February 2014 / Accepted: 27 February 2014 / Published: 1 April 2014
Cited by 13 | PDF Full-text (451 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
As energy policies mandate increases in bioenergy production, new research supports growing bioenergy feedstocks on marginal lands. Subsequently there has been an increase in published work that uses Geographic Information Systems (GIS) to map the availability of marginal land as a proxy [...] Read more.
As energy policies mandate increases in bioenergy production, new research supports growing bioenergy feedstocks on marginal lands. Subsequently there has been an increase in published work that uses Geographic Information Systems (GIS) to map the availability of marginal land as a proxy for bioenergy crop potential. However, despite the similarity in stated intent among these works a number of inconsistencies remain across studies that make comparisons and standardization difficult. We reviewed a collection of recent literature that mapped bioenergy potential on marginal lands at varying scales, and found that there is no common working definition of marginal land across all of these works. Specifically, we found considerable differences in mapped results that are driven by dissimilarities in definitions, model framework, data inputs, scale and treatment of uncertainty. Most papers reviewed here employed relatively simple GIS overlays of input criteria, distinct thresholds identifying marginal land, and few details describing accuracy and uncertainty. These differences are likely to be major impediments to integration of studies mapping marginal lands for bioenergy production. We suggest that there is future need for spatial modeling of bioenergy, yet further scholarship is needed to compare across countries and scales to understand the global potential for bioenergy crops. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue GIS for Renewable Energy)

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