To perform and support geospatial analysis, NREL analyzes, maintains, and disseminates data sets and maps on renewable energy resources, energy infrastructure, demographics and land ownership, and the earth's physical geography (topography, land use, rivers). NREL’s geographic information system models enable rapid visualization of these data, support informed decisions on renewable energy development across the globe, and provide the foundation for many of NREL's analytical products and tools.
Figure 1: Defining 'Potential'
Highlights of Recent Studies
U.S. Renewable Energy Technical Potentials: A GIS-Based Analysis
This study summarizes the achievable energy generation, or technical potential, of specific renewable energy technologies given system performance, topographic limitations, environmental, and land-use constraints.
- Assessment of technical potential establishes an upper-boundary estimate of development potential
- There are multiple types of potential—resource, technical, economic, and market—defined by key assumptions underlying the assessment
To find out more about this study and access the maps and data supporting the study, please visit: Renewable Energy Technical Potential
Find out more about NREL's geospatial analysis approach (tools, maps, data):
- Dynamic Maps, GIS Data and Analysis Tools website provides the latest analyses, maps, data visualization and tools and publications produced by NREL's GIS Team.
Find out more about other published GIS-based analyses:
- Cassard, H. et al. (2011). Break-Even Cost for Residential Solar Water Heating in the United States: Key Drivers and Sensitivities. NREL Report No. TP-6A20-48986.
- Dahle, D. et al. (2008). Assessing the Potential for Renewable Energy Development on DOE Legacy Management Lands. NREL Report No. TP-670-41673; DOE/GO-102007-2435.
For questions, contact Dan Getman.