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

Energy Management Laboratory, Dept. of Environment, University of the Aegean


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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