Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Alec Bergerson
Janke, J. R. Multicriteria GIS modeling of wind and solar farms in Colorado. Renewable Energy, 35 (2010) 2228-2234. http://people.umass.edu/bethanyb/Janke,%202010.pdf

Multicriteria GIS Modeling of Wind and Solar Farms in Colorado

This article uses GIS to determine the best locations for wind and solar energy in Colorado, an important thing to do with renewable energy on the rise.  Colorado gets 98% of its energy from fossil fuels as of 2010 (Janke, 2010, 2228).  By utilizing more wind and solar farms the state can lower its carbon footprint and increase its energy security.

The author uses GIS data to map a variety of variables including wind speeds, amount of sun, distance to cities, distance to transmission lines and more.  Using this compiled data, the areas with the most viable characteristics for renewable energy sites were determined and rated by percentage.

This data represents the 8 factors included in the analysis.  Using this they generated the following maps.

Using this GIS method, the author found the best locations for renewable energy sources. This could be applied to any state (or any place at all) and would be an important step in deciding wind and solar farm locations.


  1. It is great to see the percent of wind farming is high in some areas of Colorado. It's interesting to see the amount the alternative energy changing in the public eye. It also would be great to see this type of GIS map done on Texas, and also see the areas where oil is being drilled in Texas comparatively to wind farming.

  2. This is a really encouraging concept because it embraces alternative energy however, did the article discuss how Coloradans would feel about having the turbines dotted throughout their scenery? I'd be 100% cool with wind energy, but convincing the residents that their beautiful scenery should be interrupted by wind turbines, which might decrease tourism in the area, might be difficult. It would be very interesting if this same study was done for a map of Texas.

  3. I think this concept would be extremely useful to planners when determining the best places to implement wind turbines or other uses or renewable energy so as to more efficiently utilize these resources. It would also be interesting to know how these locations conflicted with housing areas or other urban areas. While these may be the best locations for harnessing renewable energy, I wonder how likely or accepted it would be if one was placed in the middle of an urban area. Additionally, it would be interesting to see this compared to a map showing bird density at these locations as bird fatalities are commonly associated with wind turbines.

  4. I'm curious to know what characteristics the best locations for renewable energy sources shared (elevation, amount of wind/sunlight, etc.) and what the best way to connect these sources of energy to the grid would be in rugged, mountainous Colorado.