Following a regional-level study conducted in Fukushima Prefecture, Japan (Wang et al., 2014 [1
]), this paper presents an approach for municipal renewable energy planning and its experimental application in a Japanese municipality using a Geographic Information System (GIS). The proposed approach is comprised of local issue identification, renewable energy potential evaluation and visualization, site comparison and scenario analysis. GIS was used to analyze and visualize solar, wind and biomass (forest and agriculture residue) potential within Kawamata Town, Fukushima, Japan. According to local conditions, all potential sites were coded and then compared based on different criteria, such as solar radiation, wind speed, slope and land uses, among others. In the scenario analysis section, two scenarios, “renewable energy prioritized” and ”evacuation area prioritized”, were adopted and compared. The scenarios are altered in terms of placement and the number of renewable energy facilities inside and outside evacuation areas within the town. The results generated through the proposed approach can provide information on local potentials of renewable energy resources, as well as renewable energy development alternatives at the municipal level. They can be used in the interactive dialogue for the municipal renewable energy planning process, to help to fulfill the municipality’s post-earthquake energy developmental vision.
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