Global GIS-based inventory of renewable energy resources in high spatial and temporal resolution

Funding Organisation: Umweltbundesamt (UBA)

Co-operation: Ecofys

Project duration: October 2008 to September 2010

Contact: Daniel Stetter, Dr. Wolfram Krewitt

For the assessment of renewable energy potentials within energy and climate scenarios a detailed knowledge of the availability of sustainable energy resources is indispensable. The great demand for an improved knowledge foundation in this area is the predominating reason for the realization of the presented project. There is a fundamental need for research to back up existing estimates of renewable energies’ global potentials with an improved scientific methodology employing a bottom-up approach.

In order to enhance the informative value of global energy scenarios and thus their significance for policy consultancy, a consistent world‑wide inventory of all renewable energy resources with appropriate spatial and temporal resolution is required. Geographic information systems (GIS) offer the platform to generate a standardized georeferenced inventory of renewable energy potentials and to make the information contained therein accessible for various analytical instruments.

Based on an ongoing DLR project on the development of a European inventory of renewable energy resources with high spatial and temporal resolution, this work will extend the latter on a global scale.


The main goal to be achieved is the development of a global inventory of renewable energy resources with a high spatial and temporal resolution within the framework of a standardized GIS database.

This will include the following milestones:

  • Creation of a global database containing spatial and temporal resolved information of the following renewable energy resources: solar radiation, wind, geothermal, biomass, hydro (theoretical potential)
  • Consideration of technological boundaries and limits (land availability and restrictions) taking into account sustainability criteria (technological-ecological potential)
  • Analysis of possibilities for transport and utilization considering settlement and infrastructures (implementation potential)
  • Critical analysis of biomass potentials bearing in mind sustainability criteria and utilization competition especially as far as food production and prospective change of land use patterns due to climate change are concerned

The database will be handed over to an international institution for further maintenance.

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