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Distributed power generation offers a solution to the limitations in the capacity of distributed systems and, at the same time, improves the reliability of the overall power system by increasing its generation capacity reserves. The planning process to integrate dispersed generation in power networks must take into account multiple factors such as the existing resources, the technology used in the generator, economic costs, and the environmental impact. Geographic information systems (GIS), software technologies developed for spatial data analysis, are suitable tools for solving these problems, and they allow the simultaneous evaluation of key technical, economic and environmental factors. The development of new techniques under the GIS platforms has increased the capabilities of GIS, allowing the systems to adapt to optimal DG planning studies. Using adequate software under the GIS platform, users can obtain useful information on the economic or technical viability of any distributed power generation facility. Governments, environmental agencies, utilities, private investors, financial corporations, and local authorities can become users of these tools and active players in the field of distributed power generation planning.
Date of Publication: March-April 2005