Assessing and Mapping Renewable Energy Resources

Sectors and Themes
Expertise Level
Resource Type
Guidance and Frameworks
Developer or Source
Energy Sector Management Assistance Program (ESMAP)

Understanding the location and potential of renewable energy resources is a crucial prerequisite to their utilization and to scaling up clean sources of electricity generation, such as biomass, geothermal, hydropower, solar, and wind. Such information is critical for policy development, including zoning guidance, shared infrastructure investments, generation, and transmission network planning, and estimating the cost of power. It is also heavily utilized by commercial project developers, where reliable data can help reduce the resource risk requested by lenders, and therefore the unit price for generated power.

This report draws on many years of experience within the World Bank Group (WBG) and among other partners in carrying out renewable energy resource assessment and mapping, both globally and at the country level, and particularly from 12 projects funded by the Energy Sector Management Assistance Program (ESMAP) under a major global initiative that ran from 2012 to 2020.1 This paper’s purpose is to explain, for a wide range of audiences, the importance of resource assessment and mapping, and how to obtain and/or commission reliable resource data and potential sources for further advice and support.