Colorado River Resource
September 30, 2016
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Solar Energy in Arizona

Solar Energy in Arizona

This presentation was created for a graduate course Introduction to GIS (PAF571) at Arizona State University. We were allowed to choose our own topics and create maps to draw a conclusion from our analysis.

Energy use is a large concern for the world as a whole as we continue to learn about the future outcomes of our over consumption. As the United States continues to grow, we are looking at different ways of sustaining our large population. One way we are becoming more sustainable is by utilizing alternative energy sources. In this project, I am looking to report and analyze energy consumption throughout the world then bring the analysis back home to the United States, specifically Arizona. I hope to point out where energy consumption is the highest and point out target areas in which we can develop the solar energy as an alternative energy source.
Energy Use per Capita
The first map series I created was meant to show how different countries rank toward each other by energy use per capita. Before creating the map series, I believed that the largest consumers of energy are the United States, Canada, and Russia. These countries would consume the most due to population size, growth, and lifestyle. Energy use per capita can be seen to generally increase over time as can be seen by Maps1-12. The United States has high ranking in earlier years then decreases in rank over time. Canada’s energy use stays high like the United States. Even though Russia’s data is missing in earlier years, the later years show decreasing rank of energy use. Some smaller countries, such as Iceland, have continued high ranking of energy use per capita.
It is the highest ranking, green is the lowest ranking.
Maps1-12. These maps show ranking of countries based off energy use per capita in kg of oil equivalent (1KOE = 11.63 kWh).
The second map series I created was meant to show how different countries have increased their energy use. I expect to see an upward trend over the years in all countries; however, I expect the United States, Canada, and Russia to consistently have the highest ranking due to population, size, growth, and lifestyle.
Maps13-24. These maps show energy use per capita in KOE.
The world energy use is increasing over time. Countries south of the equator tend to use less energy per capita, except, Australia. Australia has increase of energy use over time and may catch up to the United States energy use per capita soon. The United States and Canada have consistently similar growing energy use over time. Some countries have a higher energy use per capita, however their total energy use is minuscule compared to larger countries such as the United States, Canada, and Russia.
Graph1. This graph shows the US in comparison with other countries with similar energy use per capita. However, this graph can be misleading due to total energy use. (See Graphs3&4) Even though the United States, Spain, Germany, and Canada have high energy use, the energy consumption per capita levels off for these countries instead of constantly increasing such as that of Iceland. As can be seen by Graph2, the United States peaked in energy use per capita in 1979 and has since begun to decrease. Even though our energy use per capita has decreased, our country can still improve in order to become more sustainable.
Graph2. Energy use in the US spikes then levels off. It seems as though energy use will even decrease over time.
Graph3&4. The first graph shows the great difference in population in 2014 and the second shows the population from Graph3 multiplied by the energy use per capita in 2012. Even though there is a difference in years, you can see that the US triumphs over the other countries greatly in total energy use. The United States has high energy use per capita and a large population, which makes the United States a very high total energy user. One can compare the United States to Iceland which has a high energy use per capita but lower population. Iceland’s total energy use is far lower than the United States in comparison.
Since the United States is a high over all energy consumer, we could greatly benefit from finding alternative sources of energy. Solar energy is one type of alternative energy companies are looking to develop. In this section, solar radiation is observed and narrowed down to the local areas of greatest solar energy potential.
Map25. Near the equator there is greater solar radiation than at higher latitudes.
Map26. The Southwest has the highest solar radiation in the United States.
Map27. Narrowed down, Arizona has higher solar radiation in the southern areas.
Map28. Solar growth exclusion map shows Arizona exclusion areas including the reservation, protected areas, Arizona forest areas, protected land (and surrounding area), areas of environmental concern, urban areas, and major river areas.
Map29. According to Solar PEIS, the black areas are exclusion areas and the red areas are possible development areas.
Map30. Visible are the exclusion areas including Map28 & Map29.
Map31. The transmission lines are shown with exclusion areas and developable areas. The mid-southwest has the most convenient location for solar development due to transmission lines.
Map32. The Green lines show the main roads that run through the states which would make the new solar development accessible.