by Bouke Pieter Ottow
Clean, renewable energy is in high demand. One of the most cost-effective kinds is hydropower, which often is also one of the most feasible in rural off grid villages. Methods to find spots that are high in power potential are often irreproducible, subjective, and require local knowledge. Several GIS models are starting to evolve to guide decision makers and engineering companies in this process. The objective of this study was to develop and test a spatial model to identify potential micro-hydropower sites based on global and freely available data and open source software for the south of Mindanao Island, Philippines. The scripting language R and the GIS package SAGA GIS were used to process the free data into potential spots. ASTER GDEM, TRMM, and MOD16 provide the necessary input data. To quantify uncertainty in the results caused by error distributions in the input DEM, an error propagation was performed. The resulting maps show potential spots on a fine resolution raster. Fluctuations in potential over the year were identified with the use of time steps of a month. Uncertainty about groundwater flows are considered by the use of three scenarios concerning water retention by the soil. This model gives a quick and extensive overview for an early exploration of hydro power sites. The error propagation resulted in probability maps which show where the chance for finding a potential micro-hydropower site is high.
Keywords: DEM error propagation, spatial statistics, spatial modelling, hydro power, MHP, ASTER GDEM, TRMM, MOD16, R