An energy resource that is renewed by nature and whose supply is not affected by the rate of consumption is often termed as renewable energy. The need to search for renewable, alternate and non-polluting sources of energy assumes top priority for self-reliance in the regional energy supply. This demands an estimation of available energy resources spatially to evolve better management strategies for ensuring sustainability of resources. The spatial mapping of availability and demand of energy resources would help in the integrated regional energy planning through an appropriate energy supply–demand matching. This paper discusses the application of Geographical Information System (GIS) to map the renewable energy potential talukwise in Karnataka State, India. Taluk is an administrative division in the federal set-up in India to implement developmental programmes like dissemination of biogas, improved stoves, etc. Hence, this paper focuses talukwise mapping of renewable energy (solar, wind, bioenergy and small hydroenergy) potential for Karnataka using GIS. GIS helps in spatial and temporal analyses of the resources and demand and also aids as Decision Support System while implementing location-specific renewable energy technologies.
Regions suitable for tapping solar energy are mapped based on global solar radiation data, which provides a picture of the potential. Coastal taluks in Uttara Kannada have higher global solar radiation during summer (6.31 kWh/m2), monsoon (4.16 kWh/m2) and winter (5.48 kWh/m2). Mapping of regions suitable for tapping wind energy has been done based on wind velocity data, and it shows that Chikkodi taluk, Belgaum district, has higher potential during summer (6.06 m/s), monsoon (8.27 m/s) and winter (5.19 m/s). Mysore district has the maximum number of small hydropower plants with a capacity of 36 MW. Talukwise computation of bioenergy availability from agricultural residue, forest, horticulture, plantation and livestock indicates that Channagiri taluk in Shimoga district yields maximum bioenergy. The bioenergy status analysis shows that Siddapur taluk in Uttara Kannada district has the highest bioenergy status of 2.004 (ratio of bioresource availability and demand).