Distributed Generation with Renewable Energy Systems: The spatial dimension for an autonomous Grid

Energy Management Laboratory, Dept. of Environment, University of the Aegean; University Hill, Greece

ABSTRACT The global requirement for sustainable energy provision will become increasingly important over the next years as the environmental effects of fossil fuels become apparent. Distributed Generation (DG) based on Renewable Energy Technologies (solar, wind, hydro and biomass) is becoming a more important energy option in the future generation system. Depending on the local conditions and energy potential, one or more of the widely used renewable energy sources can be exploited locally. Wind energy for electricity production, biogas from solid waste for heat and electricity production, solar for heat and electricity production, hydro for electricity production. As other energy facilities, DG facilities require a siting review process to acquire the permits and approval needs for construction and operation. Locating optimal sites for power generation facilities is a complex task involving many environmental, economic, and social constraints and factors associated with existing central power plants, substations, transmission and distributions lines, networks of power system, etc. A Geographic Information System (GIS) is an appropriate tool to address this issue, since it efficiently stores, retrieves, analyses, and displays geographically referenced information (i.e., data identified regarding to their locations) according to user-defined specifications. Thus, once a GIS database is developed, it can provide an efficient and affordable means of analyzing potential DG facility site attributes. This paper presents an outline of a Spatial Decision Support System (SDSS) to select optimal sites to install DG facilities on the island of Lesvos, Greece, where various renewable energy sources can be found. A variety of constraints and factors were identified that address environmental, energy, social, political and economic considerations. The results may help build a developmental vision for sustainable energy systems based on locally available natural resources, and facilitate a transition of national energy and environmental policies towards sustainability.

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    ABSTRACT: This research discusses the implementation of a geographic information system (GIS) for the simultaneous discovery of multiple types of renewable energy sources. In particular, the GIS model analyzes wind, solar, and biomass potential within the greater southern Appalachian region, an area which is currently very heavily dependent on coal for electricity generation. The location and availability of biomass is specifically considered in the context of potential co-fire generation within existing coal plants, while the availability of wind and solar power are based on both resource strength and the geographic, topographic, and regulatory constraints that provide limits on their use. The model determines potential wind and solar sites within the region, and potential biomass co-fire locations, based on these input constraints and it calculates the cost and generation characteristics for each site.Highlights► We discuss a geographic information system for analyzing renewable energy potential. ► The system is focused on solar, wind, and biomass resources, at the regional level. ► The chosen region for application is the greater southern Appalachian mountains. ► Potential sites for each type of resource are identified, given regional constraints. ► Costs and potential impacts on regional electricity generation are discussed.
    Renewable Energy. 01/2011; 36(11):2785-2798.

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