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Galen Maclaurin

Group Manager III-Data Science


Galen Maclaurin is the group manager of the Geospatial Data Science Group in the Strategic Energy Analysis Center.

His research focuses on techno-economic assessment and potential generation capacity of renewable energy technologies at national and continental scales. He leads a geospatial modeling team that develops scalable, innovative methods for understanding the barriers and opportunities for deployment of utility-scale solar and wind plants from a cost-performance perspective.

Areas of Expertise

Wind and solar resource assessment and system performance modeling

Spatial components of techno-economic analysis and grid integration studies

Predictive modeling and remote-sensing image analysis

Scientific programming and high-performance computing

Research Interests

Broad-scale modeling of wind and solar technical potential and supply curves

Uncertainty in meso-scale wind resource data

Impacts of land access barriers and land use fragmentation on renewable energy deployment

Improved coupling between micro- and meso-scale modeling of wind plant performance


Ph.D., Geography, University of Colorado, 2015

M.A., Geography, University of Colorado, 2011

B.A., Geography and Spanish, University of Colorado, 2005

Prior Work Experience

Lecturer, University of Colorado Denver, Department of Geography and Environmental Sciences, Denver, CO

Research Assistant, National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR), Boulder, CO

Graduate Instructor and Research Assistant, University of Colorado, Boulder, Geography Department, Boulder, CO

Featured Publications

Maclaurin, G., W. Cole, A. Lopez, A. Reimers, E. Rosenlieb, and B. Roberts. 2018. "Understanding Inter-Annual Variability of PV Energy Production in the Contiguous United States." 2018 IEEE International Conference on Probabilistic Methods Applied to Power Systems (June): 1-4.

Sengupta, M., Y. Xie, A. Lopez, A. Habte, GMaclaurin, and J. Shelby. 2018. The National Solar Radiation Data Base (NSRDB)Renewable and Sustainable Energy Reviews 89 (June): 51-60.

Maclaurin, G., and S. Leyk. 2017. "Reverse Engineering of Land Cover Data: Machine Learning for Data Replication in the Spatial and Temporal Domains." M. Behnisch and G. Meinel, eds. Trends in Spatial Analysis and Modelling 19 (October): 3-22.

Hunter, L., S. Leyk, G. Maclaurin, R. Nawrotzki, W. Twine, B. Erasmus, and M. Collinson. 2017. "Variation by Geographic Scale in the Migration-Environment Association: Evidence from Rural South Africa." Comparative Population Studies, 42: 117-148.

Maclaurin, G., M. Sengupta, Y. Xie, and N. Gilroy. 2016. Development of a MODIS-Derived Surface Albedo Data Set: An Improved Model Input for Processing the NSRDB. Golden, CO: National Renewable Energy Laboratory. NREL/TP-6A20-67306.

Maclaurin, G., and  S. Leyk. 2016. "Temporal replication of the national land cover database using active machine learning." GIScience and Remote Sensing 53, no. 6: 759-777.

Mooney, M., and  G. Maclaurin. 2016. Transportation of Large Wind Components: A Review of Existing Geospatial Data.  Golden, CO: National Renewable Energy Laboratory. NREL/TP-6A20-67014.

Maclaurin, G., and S. Leyk. 2016. "Extending the geographic extent of existing land cover data using active machine learning and covariate shift corrective sampling." International Journal of Remote Sensing  37, no. 21:  5213-5233.

Maclaurin G., S. Leyk, and L. Hunter. 2015. "Understanding the combined impacts of aggregation and spatial non-stationarity: The case of migration-environment associations in rural South Africa." Transactions in GIS 19 no. 6 (December): 877-895.

Ruther, M., G. Maclaurin, S. Leyk,  B. Buttenfield, and N. Nagle. 2013. "Validation of spatially allocated small area estimates for 1880 Census demography." Demographic Research 29, no. 22 (September): 579-616.

Hunter, L., R. Nawrotzki, S. Leyk, G. Maclaurin, W. Twine, M. Collinson, and B. Erasmus.  2013. "Rural Outmigration, Natural Capital, and Livelihoods in South Africa.Population, Space and Place 20, no. 5 (July): 402-420. 

Leyk, S., G. Maclaurin, L. Hunter,  R. Nawrotzki, W. Twine, M.Collinson, and B. Erasmus. 2012. "Spatially and Temporally Varying Associations between Temporary Outmigration and Natural Resource Availability in Resource-Dependent Rural Communities in South Africa: A Modeling Framework." Applied Geography 34 (May): 559-568.

View all NREL publications for Galen Maclaurin.