Open Geospatial Data for Energy Planning

University essay from KTH/Energisystemanalys

Author: Carl Berndtsson; [2016]

Keywords: geospatial data; energy planning;


Geographic information systems (GIS) are increasingly being used in energy planning and by private sector practitioners. Through qualitative interviews with 49 leading practitioners in the public and private sector, this thesis establishes the data of most importance, current open access data sources for energy access along with the information currently lacking from open data sources. The interviews revealed grid infrastructure, population density, renewable power potential and energy expenditure to be the most sought after data for both practitioners’ groups. However, it was evident that the private sector had a stronger focus on land, water resource and climate data determining the renewable power potential for a specific area of interest, while the public sector focused on socioeconomic indicators and energy expenditure. A following data aggregation and analysis of the most desired datasets showed that a majority of the needed datasets were available with the exception of energy expenditure.

A least-cost option electrification model developed by KTH-dESA has proven to be a powerful tool in assessing the cost of nationwide electrification. This thesis compares the average least-cost option electrification cost for each region in Tanzania with a projected average income. The comparison showed that the average household cost for least-cost option electrification as a share of projected household income varies between regions. The average share per household in the western regions of Tanzania were significantly higher compared to households in the central and eastern regions. The comparison was combined with the geographical location of donor-supported energy development projects showing that majority of the projects were located in the central parts of Tanzania and not targeting the most vulnerable households in regions furthest away from the national grid. In order to successfully introduce electricity nationwide in Tanzania, more support needs to be provided to the poorest regions. 

Open data aggregation and coordination are the key to expand the support from GIS for energy access. Even though multiple data sources have been identified, they are scattered and leads to data being collected again. Coordinated efforts aimed to provide means to share aggregated updated and freely accessible data can help reduce high transaction costs, helping to alleviate energy poverty. 

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