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Resource Assessment

NREL has developed maps and tools to conduct renewable energy resource assessments at the state, national, and international level.
Around the world, interest is growing in renewable energy as a strategy to mitigate greenhouse gas emissions and increase energy security. The starting point for new renewable energy projects is a characterization of the renewable resources available across a region, called a resource assessment. NREL uses geospatial data sets to identify regions that are appropriate for renewable development and those that should be excluded, such as water bodies, urban areas, cropland, forests, very steep terrain, and protected areas. Once resource data are available for a region, NREL can estimate the theoretical potential, or upper limit, for renewable energy in an area.

Featured Study

Map of Afghanistan displaying the biomass potential based on state.

Assessment of Biomass Resources in Afghanistan examines the amount of biomass resources available or potentially available in Afghanistan, as well as their geographic distribution, using geographic information systems (GIS) and other techniques. The results provide policymakers and industry developers with information on the potential for biomass-based power/heat generation and transportation fuels production.

The study concluded that in Afghanistan:

  • Biogas generation from animal manure and waste-to-energy from urban discards are the most promising sustainable biomass technologies that use existing resources
  • Climate and terrain are major limitations on the potential biomass resources.

Data and Tools

  • Tribal Energy Atlas is a first-of-its-kind interactive geospatial application that allows tribes and others to conduct their own analyses of installed energy projects and resource potential on tribal lands.
  • Energy Resource and Infrastructure Assessments provides global sustainability assessments, worldwide energy assessments, and resource assessments.
  • Interactive Maps provides access to NREL's interactive resource assessment maps.