Verification of a GIS-based system for identification of potential hydro power plant sites in Uganda
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Hydropower makes and is expected to continue to make a significant contribution to meeting the electricity demand in many countries. The information on hydropower potential is many places is often incomplete. A GIS based tool is under development is expected to help in quickly identifying possible hydropower plant locations over a large area in a short time. This study is aimed at evaluating how well this GIS tool is able to estimate the hydropower potential from the runoff maps and terrain/elevation data. The study compares the generation (MW/GWH) computed by the GIS tool with existing studies of potential projects and new desk studies carried out under this study. From the study the results show that 85 percent of the projects identified by the GIS system were in an acceptable distance range of less than 3km from the existing and desk study projects. Projects in which the runoff used was similar gave capacities in the range of 1 to 4.4 times greater than what had already been studied but with a potential that is between 5 to 100 times more than what actually exists. The search area used in the GIS (a factor that controls the length of possible waterways and the number of hydropower stations possible within a given area) has influenced the number of sites that the system proposes along an individual stream and the head differences between what the GIS and existing/desk studies. Based on the results from this study, the GIS system is a good tool that can quickly give an indication of the hydropower potential for a given runoff condition. For, identifying hydropower sites for development, there has to be a post process in the choice of the best alternative among that which it suggests before the final decision is made.