A Spatial Database of Existing and Potential North Carolina Renewable Energy (NCRE) Facilities and Resources

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Master of Natural Resources Professional Papers (North Carolina State University. College of Natural Resources)

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North Carolina State University. College of Natural Resources


Abstract Cser, Helene. Master of Natural Resources – Assessment and Analysis Technical Option. Title: A Spatial Database of Existing and Potential North Carolina Renewable Energy (NCRE) Facilities and Resources A detailed Geographic Information System (GIS) based database has been created to show the locations of existing and potential renewable resources and their proximities to energy facilities capable of harnessing the energy to meet the requirements stated in the NC Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency Portfolio Standard (REPS) and North Carolina’s Strategic Plan for Biofuels Leadership 2017. The purposes of this database are to (1) provide preliminary data to interested parties and (2) encourage sustainable renewable energy development for North Carolina. The renewable energy resources and facilities that are included in the database include: animal waste, secondary fuels (biodiesel, biogas, and ethanol), processing residues, electrical generators (co-firing coal plants, biomass facilities, wood fired boilers, operational and potential landfill gas projects, solar, wind, and small hydroelectric sources). The database also contains supporting data such as infrastructure, boundaries, and population centers. One problem with the wealth of resources is that they are widely dispersed across the North Carolina landscape. The expected significance of this spatial database is that it will provide a tool for encouraging economic growth within the renewable energy industry sector. It will also provide a baseline state inventory and help ensure the sustainable development of renewable energy. Those who will find this spatial database mapping useful include parties interested and involved in sustainable renewable energy development, such as the scientific community, energy developers, environmental groups, and local planners. The documentation and methods of data accumulation used to create this spatial database consisting of existing and potential renewable resources datasets gathered and created are provided. An overview of GIS (Geographic Information System) terminology, the geodatabase structure, and an explanation of the format used to describe the spatial database is provided for users new to GIS. A database assessment of the strengths, limitations, opportunities, and potential problems are provided as well. The spatial database currently exists on a server that is housed within the Forestry Department at the College of Natural Resources. It is recommended that all renewable energy data for North Carolina continue to be consolidated into one spatial database and updated frequently in order to provide beneficial information for all renewable energy sectors. The spatial database should be housed within an organization that will maintain and update the data, provide an interactive web application, and consulting services to interested parties. The organization that will house the spatial database should form partnerships with various state agencies, non-profit and private organizations, and universities. Finally, it is recommended that additional data and models be incorporated into the database to allow for more in depth spatial analysis.



renewable energy facility, geodatabase, biofuels, solar energy, wind energy, hydroelectric energy