Expert Workshop on Addressing the Geospatial Aspects of Variable Renewable Energy (VRE) in Long-Term Planning

The unique geospatial aspects of Variable Renewable Energy (VRE) were introduced in the IRENA report Planning for the Renewable Future, published in 2017. This topic emerged in the report in the context of representing the impacts of including VRE in long-term energy planning and how this may be assisted with geospatial data. Since the report was published, access to geo-spatial data and tools has significantly improved. As a result, such tools are increasingly included in government planning for generation and transmission capacity expansion. Another emerging aspect is for planners to better reflect the potential of distributed renewable energy pathways, including grid connected embedded generation and decentralised rural electrification, in the long-term energy planning process, both in well-developed and under-developed grid systems.

Given this background, IRENA organised a workshop on 12-13 December in Bonn, inviting government practitioners, experts, and researchers to discuss the current use of geospatial information in long-term energy planning. The aim of the workshop was additionally to collect inputs from experts on the latest developments regarding data and methodologies that could bring practical advancements to the planning process. The workshop was part of IRENA’s AVRIL project which collects and showcases the state-of-the-art energy planning and modelling methodologies to improve the representation of VREs in the long-term energy planning frameworks of national governments.

The workshop consisted of six thematic sessions and featured twenty short input presentations from long term energy planning practitioners, researchers and experts and IRENA staff. In each expert session, input presentations were followed by moderated open discussions.


Session 1 - Introduction and Scene Setting Session 2 - Country experience on the use of modelling tools for official energy planning and the representation of geo-spatial aspects Session 3 – Increasing spatial resolution of long term expansion planning Session 4 – Geographic information system (GIS) tools, data-processing widgets, and climate impacts Session 5 – Distributed Variable Renewable Energy (VRE)
Parallel session A – Grid-connected distributed VRE

Session 5 – Distributed Variable Renewable Energy (VRE)
Parallel session B – Energy access, rural electrification, mini-grids, stand-alone systems
Session 6 – Representing grid investment in capacity expansion models