Wind energy potential assessment spatial decision support system

T. V. Ramachandra *, K. J. Rajeev, S. Vamsee Krishna, B. V. Shruthi
*Energy Research Group, Centre for Ecological Sciences, Indian Institute of Science. Bangalore 560 012, India
Citation: Ramachandra T.V., Rajeev K.J., Vamsee Krishna S., and Shruthi B.V., 2005. WEPA: Wind energy potential assessment - spatial decision support system, Energy Education Science and Technology, 14(2): 61-80.

Case Study: Karantaka

The study area, Karnataka state, is situated between 11° 40' and 18° 27' north latitude and 74° 5' and 78° 33' east longitude in the center of western peninsular India, covering an area of 19.1 Mha and accounts for 5.8% of the country's total geographic area. It has a 350 km long coastline, which forms the western boundary. According to the 2001 provisional census the population of the state is 52.6 million (26.8 million males and 25.8 million females), with a rural population of 66.02% and an urban population of 33.98%. The quality and quantity of bioresource in a region depends on various parameters such as physiography, climate, geology, soil, etc., which are discussed for Karnataka state next.

5. 1. Physiography

The state is divided into three major physiographic divisions-the Deccan plateau, hill ranges and the coastal plain. The plateau is divided into malnad and maidan. The Ghats with evergreen and semi-evergreen forests constitute the core of the malnad. Malnad is an undulating upland covering 6.2 Mha in the districts of Belgaum, Dttara Kannada, Dharwad, Chikmagalur, Kodagu and Hassan. The maidan lies east of the malnad and has a rolling surface with gentle slopes. It is further subdivided into the northern and the southern maidan. The landscape characteristics of the southern maidan are a series of rolling granite hills between Tumkur and Kolar districts. The northern maidan has a mountainous, treeless expansive plateau. The Deccan plateau is a continuation of the Malwa plateau and extends southwards. It has a triangular slope and is flanked on both sides by the Western Ghats and the Eastern Ghats. The height of the Deccan plateau varies from 300 to 900 m. The Western Ghats runs parallel to the western coast of Karnataka covering an area of 2.4 Mha. The Eastern Ghats is formed by a group of low and discontinuous mountains on the eastern side of the Deccan plateau. They occur along the southeastern border of Karnataka, covering an area of about 0.38 ha. The Eastern and the Western Ghats converge at the Nilgiri Hills. The plains cover an area of about 0.74 ha and lies between the Western Ghats and the Arabian Sea, from Karwar in the north to Mangalore in the south.

5. 2. Topography

Kamataka has representatives of all types of variations in topography-high mountains, plateaus, residual hills and coastal plains. Chains of mountains to its west, east and south enclose the state. It consists mainly of plateau, which has higher elevation of 600 to 900 m above mean sea level. The entire landscape is undulating, broken up by mountains and deep ravines. Plain land of elevation less than 300 m above mean sea level is to be found only in the narrow coastal belt, facing the Arabian Sea. There are quite a few high peaks both in the Western and Eastern Ghat systems with altitudes more than 1500 m. A series of cross-sections drawn from west to east across the Western Ghat generally exhibit a narrow coastal plain followed to the east by small and short plateaus at different altitudes, then suddenly rising up to great heights.

Then it follows the gentle east and east-north-west sloping plateau. Among the tallest peaks of Kamataka are the Mullayyana Giri (1925 m), Bababudangiri (Chandradrona Parvata 1894 m) and the Kudremukh (1895 m) all in Chikmagalur district and the Pushpagiri (1908 m) in Kodagu district. There are a dozen peaks, which rise above the height of 1500 m.

5. 3. Agro climatic zones

Kamataka is divided into 10 agro climatic zones taking into consideration the rainfall patternquantum and distribution, soil types, texture, depth and physico-chemical properties, elevation, topography, major crops and type of vegetation.

  • Northern dry zone
  • Northern transition zone
  • Northeastern transition zone
  • Northeastern dry zone
  • Coastal zone
  • Central dry zone
  • Eastern dry zone
  • Southern dry zone
  • Southern transition zone
  • Hilly zone
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