The generation of digital tools resulting from my research has a double purpose. First, it intends to attract audiences with lack of computational experience, to assess the impact of different policies over the electric power sector. By using open source databases and generating user-friendly models, I seek to remove barriers preventing researchers to explore changes in the energy landscape. Second, it aims to aid the instruction of energy systems courses, by allowing lecturers to create figures and maps that can be incorporated as audiovisuals.
Currently, there are two digital tools that are fully developed and a third one (Unit Commitment and Economic Dispatch Model) that is in the last stage of development and will be available in the short term.
1. Siting of Utility-Scale Solar Projects (SUSP) Toolbox
The ArcMap® Siting of Utility-Scale Solar Projects (SUSP) toolbox, enables the identification of the potential and associated cost of developing utility-scale solar projects in a defined geographical area (North Carolina). The toolbox is composed of three modules: 1) Identify Suitable Sites, 2) Construct Cost Curves and 3) Visualize Results.
The first module allows the user to select values for five physical constrains (i.e. distance to airports, distance to substations, minimum slope of the parcel, maximum slope of the parcel and minimum parcel size) used to identify sites that are suitable for the development of utility-scale projects. Additionally, it includes a visualization option to generate maps containing the results form each of the stages of the screening methodology.
The second module allows the user to select a set of parameters representing the economic costs of developing a project like the costs of grading the land or clearing the forest, as well as some parameters representing the engineering limitations to install single axis or fixed tilt solar panels. The third module allows the user to select different visualization options to create maps and figures with the spatial distribution of the parcels identified as suitable.
Download toolbox (link temporarily disabled while an updated version of the toolbox is uploaded)
2. Tool for Emissions and Generation Resources of the Energy Sector (TEGRES)
The ArcMap® Tool for Emissions and Generation Resources of the Energy Sector (TEGRES) generates an organized repository with the location, capacity and main characteristics of power plants in United States. As the database is stored in a compatible format with most GIS software, it can be used as an input to other GIS based tools or workflows. A visualization module is currently being developed and will be available in the short term.