National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) - Innovation for Our Energy Future
Dynamic Maps, GIS Data and Analysis Tools at NREL - Your connection to GIS news and activies at the Laboratory.

August 2012

The Geographic Information System (GIS) Team at the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) encompasses a broad range of scientific research and reporting activity in support of the U.S. Department of Energy's (DOE) Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy (EERE), NREL programs and initiatives, and the GIS community. The purpose of this quarterly newsletter is to feature recent projects, highlight new tools and announce datasets available for download. You are receiving this message because you have subscribed to our mailing list.

Featured Projects

A detailed map show geothermal resources of the Bighorn Basin in Wyoming.

A map of the U.S. that identifies fifteen major known US sedimentary basins that have high geothermal resource potential.

An Estimate of the Geothermal Energy Resource in the Major Sedimentary Basins in the United States

GIS Analyst Billy Roberts and Geothermal Energy Analyst Ariel Esposito completed a study that estimates the magnitude of geothermal energy from fifteen major known U.S. sedimentary basins and ranks these basins relative to their energy potential. Most sedimentary basins have been previously explored for oil and gas, well logs, temperatures at depth, and have known reservoir properties. This reduces exploration risk and allows development of geologic exploration models for each basin as well as a relative assessment of geologic risk elements for each play. The total available thermal resource for each basin was estimated using the volumetric heat-in-place method originally proposed by Muffler (USGS). The total sedimentary thickness maps, stratigraphic columns, cross sections, and temperature gradient Information were gathered for each basin from published articles, USGS reports, and state geological survey reports. When published data was insufficient, thermal gradients and reservoir properties were derived from oil and gas well logs obtained on oil and gas commission websites. In addition, basin stratigraphy, structural history, and groundwater circulation patterns were studied in order to develop a model that estimates resource size and temperature distribution, and to qualitatively assess reservoir productivity.

Renewable Energy Technical Potential Report

Image of a triangle divided into sections called Market, Economic, Technical, and Resource that include the key assumptions for each section on a bulleted list beside it.

Authors: Anthony Lopez, Billy Roberts, Donna Heimiller, Nate Blair, and Gian Porro
A new study of renewable energy's technical potential finds that every state in the nation has the space and resource to generate clean energy. NREL analysts conducted a spatial analysis to calculate energy technical potential for six different renewable technologies. This report presents state-level results.

The study includes state-level maps and tables containing available land area (square kilometers), installed capacity (gigawatts), and electric generation (gigawatt-hours) for each technology, obtained through independent research, published research, and professional contacts. An RE Technical Potentials page on includes the report, a downloadable slide presentation of the maps, and a spreadsheet of state data, as well as more information on the RE Atlas tool.

Featured Tool

Screenshoot of the Open Pv Project online application.

Open PV

In July the NREL DAV Group released an updated version of the Open PV Project. The Open PV Project is a collaborative effort between government, industry, and the public that is compiling a comprehensive database of photovoltaic (PV) installation data for the United States. Data for the project are voluntarily contributed from a variety of sources including utilities, state-rebate programs, installers, and the general public. The data collected is actively maintained by the contributors and are always changing to provide an evolving, up-to-date snapshot of the U.S. solar power market. The new release includes reporting through the current year, new cost metrics in the MarketMapper, and many other enhancements.

Please contact Ted Quinby with questions about this tool.

GIS Webpage Updates

The following data and maps have recently been posted:

For the latest updates on information regarding dynamic maps and GIS data, visit the
Dynamic Maps, Geographic Information System (GIS) Data and Analysis Tools,
NREL Data and Visualization Tools, or NREL Developer Network website.

If you are having trouble with our email version, please access our Web version August 2012.

Questions? Contact

The GIS at NREL newsletter highlights all the GIS activities in support of renewable energy and energy efficiency technologies research at the laboratory. Features include recent projects, new tools, and available datasets. You can subscribe to this newsletter using our simple online form, and you can also unsubscribe online.

NREL is a national laboratory of the U.S. Department of Energy, Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy, operated by the Alliance for Sustainable Energy, LLC NREL U.S. Department of Energy Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy Alliance for Sustainable Energy, LLC