Mapping the potential of bioenergy around the world: IRENA and GBEP to develop the bioenergy component of the Global Renewable Atlas

What share of a country's energy mix can be supplied by renewable energy? Where are the resources located? What is the most cost-effective combination of technologies? What volume of investment does this represent and is there a market large enough to create a supply chain? Assessing renewable energy resources is the firsts step in answering these questions and eventually creating an enabling market environment for deploying renewable energy investments. The Global Renewable Energy Atlas initiative, operated by IRENA, means to respond to these crucial questions by providing a comprehensive information platform on the potential of renewable energy.

The outcome of this programme is a single joint platform providing free and open access to the most advanced datasets and tools, to help countries willing to initiate the assessment of their renewable potentials. The Internet-based platform is designed to raise awareness of technology opportunities, to limit the financial risk for countries willing to investigate their technical potentials further, and for companies willing to invest in a new market. To this end, it provides high quality resource maps from leading technical institutes worldwide, and simplified models for evaluating the technical information. The dataset is enriched by more detailed national atlases that are validated against measurement campaigns. The ambition for this platform is to become a repository for high quality renewable energy resource data and a catalyst to trigger planning, policy development and attract investors in emerging and new renewable energy markets.

The initiative has delivered preliminary results on wind and solar energy and is now moving on to include the bioenergy component into the atlas and to do so it will work in collaboration with GBEP through a new activity group, named Activity Group 5 “The Global Renewable Energy Atlas – Bioenergy Component” of the GBEP WGCB. The AG5 was established in the past GBEP meetings in Berlin last May and will be co-led and operated by IRENA and the GBEP Secretariat in cooperation with GBEP Partners and Observers and any other relevant partners. It will start working to develop guidance on how to interpret and use maps in light of the GBEP indicators and also to incorporate a component of the efforts on building the capacity of developing countries / institutes to use mapping as a tool to support good policy development.


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