Published Date: 19 July 2023
With the mounting pressure to combat climate change, location intelligence is becoming an increasingly valuable tool for the renewable energy sector.
Offshore wind is acknowledged as a critical component in meeting the UK’s target of net zero emissions, with the government aiming to produce enough floating offshore wind to power every home in the country by 2030 – boosting the government’s previous target from 30GW to 40GW.
But for wind farms and solar energy facilities to become a major source of green energy, finding the correct location for future wind farms and solar energy facilities is crucial.
A custom-built GIS (Geographical Information System) solution can provide effective data analysis to help ensure renewable power sources are developed to maximise energy efficiencies, whilst also minimising costs and environmental impact.
In this article, we will discuss GIS application use within the renewable energy sector, including the challenges faced with using GIS, the benefits of intuitive data exploration, and how I-Finity’s deep technical expertise can help you with your requirements of a bespoke GIS mapping solution.
How GIS mapping can assist in feasibility analysis for renewable energy developments
With the right GIS software and mapping tools, planners, policy makers and private consultancy companies can make better energy investments by accurately selecting the precise location where solar panels and wind turbines will have the greatest impact.
GIS technology enables the collection, analysis and display of thousands of spatial data points in a visual output – a map. By utilising GIS technology with comprehensive mapping tools like Leaflet and Open Street Maps, we can enable the visualisation of multiple layers of data on a single map.
Combined with custom-written algorithms and calculations, bespoke software development can generate results that are specific to the needs of each use case.
Types of GIS mapping data
There is a wealth of free and commercially purchased GIS data sources, available in many different file formats (Shapefiles, Raster, Geo Tiff etc.) that work in isolation. These data sets are essential for conducting feasibility analysis across a range of scenarios – from determining the location for wind energy sites to calculating the carbon emission of farming land, and more.
The data sets that assist in geospatial analysis include:
- Physical and environmental factors: terrain slope, wind speed, water depth, air density, distance to the coast, soil composition, land parcels data, etc.
- Urban and sociopolitical elements: national borders, population density, proximity to power lines, airports, harbours, grid connections, etc.
Benefits of GIS in the renewable energy sector
Here are some key ways that custom GIS software helps those in the renewable energy sector make better investment decisions:
- Powerful data collection and analysis. Layering data from multiple sources helps decipher relationships, patterns and geographic context - enabling agile decision making with better informed outcomes.
- Increased ROI. GIS software can help organisations work more efficiently to make decisions based on modelling a significant amount of data, performing calculations and understanding the complexities to select the optimal location for an improved return on investment.
- Protect the natural environment. ‘Optimal location’ also means generating renewable energy in a way that minimises the impact on the natural environment. Custom GIS can help you define the best site that will deliver the lowest environmental risk.
The technical challenges of GIS
Performance, accuracy and speed are often the main challenges for anyone looking to invest in geospatial software solutions.
Location intelligence solutions typically need to process a colossal amount of data, perform calculations, and render a significant amount of information on a map in real time. This means it’s important for those in the renewable energy sector to work with a GIS solution that can display, interrogate and visualise data quickly and accurately, for an optimal user experience.
GIS solutions are used to generate maps that perform analysis, enable the sharing of information, and solve complex problems around the world. These custom maps also need the capability to integrate with specific hardware and software products, along with the requirement to be compatible with other geospatial products, such as ArcGIS and QGIS.
Our custom development of GIS mapping software
I‑Finity have specialist Azure and geospatial expertise, developing GIS solutions across a range of industries including mining, utilities and the renewable energy sector.
We solve complex problems using GIS technology that’s architected on Azure – delivering ongoing scalability, high performance and high availability during the collection and processing of phenomenal amounts of data. Depending on connection requirements, data can be synced in real time or synced offline when in remote areas.
All our custom-built geospatial software solutions begin with understanding each customer’s data sets and the level of analysis required to make informed decisions. Everything we build is bespoke, created to meet the unique requirements of each customer, this includes a front-end design for each application that is simple, intuitive and user-friendly.
Our GIS software solutions also deliver custom reporting and map exports in various formats, delivering operational efficiencies, improved decision making, and a strong ROI.
If you require a GIS solution that:
- Organises a significant amount of data from multiple sources into one view
- Processes data visually on a map and enables the user to interact with the displayed data
- Performs custom calculations, implements algorithms, and generates results based on user input
- Offers the option to switch data on and off to view cause and effect
- Generates reports to capture the data analysis and resulting recommendations
- Enables the export of generated maps in multiple formats
- Automates your current workflow to remove human error and improve accuracy
Get in touch with our GIS experts to discuss your requirements and explore the possibilities of custom geospatial software solutions.