Sustainability

Oral

397387 - Assessing power sector vulnerabilities to climate change using an integrated water, energy, and climate modeling framework

Monday, June 4
10:30 AM - 12:00 PM
Location: Northstar B
Co-Authors: Jordan Macknick, Golden, CO – National Renewable Energy Laboratory; Vincent Tidwell, Albuquerque, NM – Sandia National Laboratories; Edith Zagona, Boulder, CO – University of Colorado Boulder; Timothy Magee, Boulder, CO – University of Colorado Boulder; Katrina Bennett, Los Alamos, NM – Los Alamos National Laboratory; Richard Middleton, Los Alamos, NM – Los Alamos National Laboratory; Kelly Sanders, Los Angeles, CA – University of Southern California

The U.S. power sector is dependent on water resources for generating hydroelectricity and cooling thermoelectric power plants. Insufficient access to water or increases in cooling water temperatures can have negative consequences on the efficiency and reliability of the electricity grid. Although previous studies have assessed the water usage of power plants, most do not incorporate physical water constraints or the dynamic nature of power plant dispatching. A modeling framework was developed, coupling a power model, a reservoir operations model, a surface hydrology model, and a climate model. The San Juan River basin, located in the Southwestern U.S., was chosen as a case study. Simulations reflect downscaled data from global climate models and predicted changes in regional water demand changes. An electricity production cost model developed in PLEXOS simulated the impacts of climate variability on electric grid operations and cooling water usage. This model was integrated with a Variable Infiltration Capacity (VIC) hydrologic model, which was used to project inflows, ambient air temperature, and humidity, while a RiverWare model was used to simulate river operations, hydroelectricity generation, water deliveries, and new water demands. Results indicate that during intense drought scenarios, reductions in water availability could require thermoelectric generators to decrease power production as much as 50% in some years. This novel framework can be applied in other regions to model the impacts of climate and hydrologic variability on the dispatch, operational behaviors, and reliability of the power sector, at both the generating unit level and systems level, with high spatio-temporal resolution.

Measrainsey Meng

PhD Student
University of Southern California

Measrainsey Meng is a second year graduate student at the University of Southern California pursuing a Ph.D. in Environmental Engineering. As a member of Dr. Kelly Sanders'​ Sustainable Systems (S3) Group, I am conducting research that seeks to address various environmental, sustainability, and energy issues. Areas of particular interest to me are the water-energy-air nexus, climate change, and the trade-offs of various energy sources. I am also interested in how political, social, and economic issues impact the environment and vice-versa.

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