When considering the harnessing of
renewable energy (RE) resources, such as wind and solar energy, national
governments, investors and suppliers must all ask themselves many questions:
governments need to know how much energy capacity can be developed and what
tariffs will be needed to encourage investment; developers and investors need
information to help them decide where to invest, how much money will be needed
and what the returns are likely to be; suppliers must be convinced that the
market is big enough to warrant setting up distribution and servicing channels.
All involved parties must be convinced that the ‘value at stake’ is sufficient
to merit their involvement in developing the renewable market in a given
country or region.
Geospatial mapping can answer many of these
questions and is being introduced in several INOGATE Partner Countries to help
them locate, quantify and assess wind and solar energy resources. Geospatial mapping
can help policy makers, investors and other stakeholders understand their
individual value at stake of sources of energy such as wind and solar energy,
where it is, how much to exploit and what returns they can expect. In the early
stages of renewable energy development, the mapping can support a concrete
dialogue on what future energy policy could be.
Geospatial mapping is an online tool that
helps investors and national agencies decide where to invest in RE feasibility
studies, how much resource might be developed, where, at what cost and with
what return, for a range of tariff/discount rate combinations. Computerised
maps can provide the potential energy produced by solar or wind power on a
national scale, regionally or in maps that are as detailed as 10 km2.
In July 2015 INOGATE transferred such a
RESMAP (Renewable Energy Sources Map) to the Georgian Energy Development Fund
during a special meeting where participants from various Partner Countries were
given a demonstration of the prototype tool. There is great interest in RESMAP
expansion for Armenia, Azerbaijan and Moldova in the near future.
Participation in RESMAP application by the
beneficiary countries will take the form of a small annual licence fee and
training for updating and maintenance, as well as data collection. “The RESMAP
allows you to look at various different scenarios of economically viable wind
and solar energy resources, at different combinations of tariffs, discount
rates and capital costs, whilst screening out areas that are unavailable for
development.” says Mark Allington, ITS Expert. “It is detailed feasibility
studies that lead to investment and policy change – the RESMAP lets you know
where to undertake these studies” he added.
It is envisaged that the tool will be run
independently by the countries after a short interim period of introduction.