Featured Content

Here users will find relevant content from U.S. government agencies that help inform how climate variability and/or global climate change may potentially affect different aspects of energy and infrastructure systems.

 

Energy Resources  |  Energy Supply  |  Energy Demand  |  Energy Conversion  |  Energy Infrastructure  |  Energy Resilience

 

Energy Resources

  • A Review of Operational Water Consumption and Withdrawal Factors for Electricity Generating Technologies: This report provides estimates of operational water withdrawal and water consumption factors for electricity generating technologies in the United States. Estimates of water factors were collected from published primary literature and were not modified except for unit conversions. The presented water factors may be useful in modeling and policy analyses where reliable power plant level data are not available.
  • Climate and Energy-Water-Land System Interactions: This report provides a framework to characterize and understand the important elements of climate and energy-water-land (EWL) system interactions. It identifies many of the important issues, discusses our understanding of those issues, and identifies the research needs to address the priority scientific challenges and gaps in our understanding. Much of the discussion is organized around two discrete case studies with the broad themes of (1) extreme events and (2) regional differences. These case studies help demonstrate unique ways in which energy-water-land interactions can occur and be influenced by climate. In addition, a series of œillustrations portray representative decision-making considerations relevant to climate-EWL interfaces.
  • Comparing the Impacts of the 2005 and 2008 Hurricanes on U.S. Energy Infrastructure: This report compares the impact of the major hurricanes of 2005 and 2008 on U.S. energy systems, including those that produce, process and transport oil, natural gas, and electricity. The magnitude and duration of hurricane-induced production and supply disruptions are compared, as well as the extent of damage to energy infrastructure. The effect of disruptions on energy prices and supply is analyzed. The report describes the actions taken by DOE and other Federal agencies to assist the energy industry in restoration.
  • Consumptive Water Use in the Production of Ethanol and Petroleum Gasoline: In this study, we focus on two major steps in the lifecycle feedstock production (farming, oil recovery) and fuel processing/production (ethanol production and oil refining). For corn ethanol, we focus on three of the 10 farm-production regions defined by the U.S. Department of Agriculture. They are Region 5 (Iowa, Indiana, Illinois, Ohio, and Missouri), Region 6 (Minnesota, Wisconsin, and Michigan), and Region 7 (North Dakota, South Dakota, Nebraska, and Kansas). These three regions consistently account for 89 percent of U.S. corn production and 95 percent of its ethanol production (RFA 2007). We examine corn ethanol produced via dry milling and cellulosic ethanol produced via biochemical and thermochemical conversion technologies.
  • Department of Homeland Security Climate Change Adaptation Roadmap: Based on the Secretary’s guidance, the initial focus areas of the Roadmap include Departmental cross-cutting adaptation activities, resilient critical infrastructure and key resources, resilience to disasters, and the Arctic. The 42 actions identified in the CCA Roadmap are the result of deliberate study and analysis by select DHS headquarters elements and operational Components. As with all homeland security activities, these actions seek to ensure security, resilience, and customs and exchange with the world across all core mission areas.
  • Effect of Sea Level Rise on Energy Infrastructure in Four Major Metropolitan Areas: The study overlays information about potential Sea Level Risk (SLR) exposure to energy infrastructure locations around 4 major US cities, using Geographic Information Systems (GIS) tools. To assess possible exposure to SLR, the study uses recent government data and modeling results, including: i) Global SLR scenarios that are based on alternative assumptions about the effects of climate change on sea levels, from the Third National Climate Assessment (NCA); ii) Analyses of the geographic extent of inundation from higher sea levels, from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) Coastal Services Center (CSC); and iii) Locations of energy assets identified by the OE as part of ongoing studies of energy infrastructure.
  • Effects of Climate Change on Federal Hydropower: This report contains data from a new, nationwide study of the observed and projected impacts of global climate change on federal hydropower generation using climate modeling as well as hydrological and hydro power generation data.
  • Energy’s Water Demand: Trends, Vulnerabilities and Management: The report first lays out the trends shaping energy’s water use; second, it discusses energy’s vulnerability to water constraints; and third, it discusses projections of energy’s water use. It then explores three regional examples of energy’s water use: shale gas in Texas, solar energy in the Southwest, and biofuels in the High Plains. Finally, it discusses policy options and legislative approaches for managing energy’s water use. Several appendixes provide more detailed information on specific technologies, fuels, and trends. The report does not discuss in detail the energy sector’s water quality impacts, although they represent their own challenges, as shown by concerns over the water quality effects of hydraulic fracturing, mountaintop mining, and the Deepwater Horizon oil spill. Energy use by the water sector also is not discussed in this report, although water conservation is one of many available means for reducing energy demand.
  • Energy-Water Nexus: Coordinated Federal Approach Needed to Better Manage Energy and Water Tradeoffs: To conduct this work, GAO systematically reviewed its five reports to identify key nexus issues. GAO also used a content analysis of related literature and interviews with specialists to validate these themes.
  • Estimated Use of Water in the United States in 2005: U.S. Geological Survey Circular 1344: This report, “Estimated use of water in the United States in 2005,” is the twelfth in a series of report that has been compiled and published by the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) every 5 years since 1950. These reports include estimates of water withdrawals by State, source of water, and category of use. Data from 2005 and earlier years can be used to indicated changes in water use over time, among different geographic areas, and from different sources. Water-use information complements the study of surface-water and groundwater availability, and is essential to understanding how future water demands will be met while maintaining adequate water quality and quantities for human and ecosystem needs. This report presents water-use estimates by source and by State for eight categories of water use for 2005. Sources include surface water and groundwater, both fresh and saline. Categories include public supply, domestic, irrigation, livestock, aquaculture, industrial, mining, and thermoelectric power. All withdrawals for the public-supply, domestic, irrigation, and livestock categories are shown as freshwater, although in some areas water is treated to reduce salinity for these uses. Both fresh and saline withdrawals are shown for industrial, mining, and thermoelectric-power generation uses. Geographic areas include 50 States, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, and the U.S. Virgin Islands, which are hereafter referred to as “States” for brevity.
  • Estimating Freshwater Needs to Meet Future Thermoelectric Generation Requirements 2010 Update: This report is an update to the September 2009 report using projection from EIA’s AEO 2010 forecast. With increased climate change concerns and the possible future policies regarding carbon capture and sequestration (CCS), this report also examines the impact that CCS technologies would have on water withdrawal and consumption. Future freshwater withdrawal and consumption requirements for the U.S. thermoelectric generation sector were estimated for five cases, using AEO 2010 regional projections for capacity additions and retirements.
  • Federal Efforts Under Way to Assess Water Infrastructure Vulnerabilities and Address Adaptation Challenges: This report examines (1) actions taken by the Corps and Reclamation since 2009 to assess and respond to the potential effects of climate change on water infrastructure and (2) challenges, if any, faced by the Corps and Reclamation in assessing and responding to the potential effects of climate change on water infrastructure, and the steps the agencies are taking to address them. GAO analyzed the agencies’ climate change adaptation guidance and planning documents and interviewed agency officials and other key stakeholders, including water users, environmental groups, and researchers.
  • Hardening and Resiliency: U.S. Energy Industry Response to Recent Hurricane Seasons: This report focuses on the measures that refiners, petroleum product pipeline operators, and electric utilities in the Gulf Coast have taken to harden their assets and make energy supply to the Southeast more resilient.
  • Impact of Drought on U.S. Steam Electric Power Plant Cooling Water Intakes and Related Water Resource Management Issues: For this study, the sources of cooling water used by the U.S. steam electric power plant fleet were examined. This effort entailed development of a database of power plants and cooling water intake locations and depths for those plants that use surface water as a source of cooling water. Development of the database and its general characteristics are described in Chapter 2 of this report. Examination of the database gives an indication of how low water levels can drop before cooling water intakes cease to function. Water level drops are evaluated against a number of different power plant characteristics, such as the nature of the water source (river vs. lake or reservoir) and type of plant (nuclear vs. fossil fuel).
  • Impact of Future Climate Variability on ERCOT Thermoelectric Power Generation: This report summarizes a study to determine the medium-term (through the year 2030) impacts of future climate and drought scenarios on electricity generation by the Electric Reliability Council of Texas (ERCOT). Because water in reservoirs is used to cool many steam cycle-based power plants, significantly low water levels can reduce the ability to cool power plants. This reduced cooling ability can come from physical supply limitations or environmental constraints (power plant effluent temperatures exceeding permitted limits). The approach projects future climate and water demands to determine stream flows, water storage in reservoirs, and power plant effluent temperatures. The results for historical and future water availability, demand, its cost, reservoir storage, and stream flow are reported for U.S. Geological Survey 8-digit hydrologic unit code (HUC8) water basins. The water and climate data are compared to power plant characteristics and past performance data to infer the likelihood that future summer power generation could be curtailed at a power plant. Beyond impacts on the existing fleet of power plants, this study also considers siting of future power plants to avoid regions of limited water availability.
  • Oil and Gas Produced Water Management and Beneficial Use in the Western United States: Produced water from oil and gas operations is currently handled as a waste product. The quality of produced water varies significantly based on the geochemistry of the producing formation, the type of hydrocarbon produced, and the characteristics of the producing well. If produced water meets appropriate water quality criteria, it may be used beneficially for purposes such as irrigation, livestock watering, aquifer storage, streamflow augmentation, and municipal and industrial uses. Treatment may be required to improve the quality of produced water so that it can be put to beneficial use.
  • Risk Assessment of Climate Systems for National Security: Climate change, through drought, flooding, storms, heat waves, and melting Arctic ice, affects the production and flow of resources within and among geographical regions. The interactions among governments, populations, and sectors of the economy require integrated assessment based on risk, through uncertainty quantification (UQ). This project evaluated the capabilities with Sandia National Laboratories to perform such integrated analyses, as they relate to (inter)national security. The combining of the UQ results from climate models with hydrological and economic/infrastructure impact modeling appears to offer the best capability for national security risk assessments.
  • Synthesis and Assessment Product (SAP) 4.5: Effects of Climate Change on Energy Production and Use in the United States: This report summarizes what is currently known about effects of climate change on energy production and use in the United States.The report concludes that, based on what is known now [2008], there are reasons to pay close attention to possible climate change impacts on energy production and use and to consider ways to adapt to possible adverse impacts and take advantage of possible positive impacts.
  • The Energy Water Nexus: Challenges and Opportunities: The report frames the integrated challenge and opportunity space around the water-energy nexus for DOE and its partners. It further explains and strengthens the logical structure underpinning DOE’s long-standing technology and modeling research and development (R&D) efforts, and lays the foundation for future efforts. The report identifies six strategic pillars that will serve as the foundation for coordinating R&D.
  • The Nexus of Biofuels, Climate Change, and Human Health: Workshop Summary: Liquid fuels are a major part of modern life. They supply energy for ground, water, and air transportation as well as power for industrial and farming machinery. But fossil fuels – the dominant liquid fuel in use for well over a century – have many disadvantages. The use of fossil fuels has obvious health downsides, such as emissions of pollutants that are directly harmful to health. The burning of fossil fuels produces greenhouse gases, which contribute to global warming, itself a long-term threat to human health. There have also been health concerns related to insecurity of liquid fuel supplies and the potential of international conflicts being caused by fuel scarcity. Furthermore, there are concerns that the world’s large but still limited supply of fossil fuels could be strained by the increasing demand that results from societies around the world achieving greater prosperity. In the face of these concerns, new policies have been created that encourage the development of renewable sources of energy in general and biofuels in particular.
  • U.S. Energy Sector Vulnerabilities to Climate Change and Extreme Weather: Report containing information on climate (temperature, precipitation, humidity, etc.) coupled with data on U.S. energy system infrastructures, including the locations of fossil and renewable energy sources, energy conversion facilities, and transmission and distribution pathways.
  • Use of Non-Traditional Water for Power Plant Applications: An Overview of DOE/NETL R&D Efforts: This report focuses on the research that has been done to date for the Non-Traditional Sources of Process and Cooling Water component. Studies in this research area focus on identifying potential new water sources, including brackish and saline water supplies and various domestic and industrial wastewaters. In particular, these studies focus on understanding the location, volumes, and quality of different non-traditional waters, as well as treatment technologies to reduce the scaling, biofouling, and corrosion potential of available impaired waters that would not otherwise be useful in a cooling water system or other processes within a thermoelectric plant.
  • Water Implications of Biofuels Production in the United States: National interests in greater energy independence, concurrent with favorable market forces, have driven increased production of corn-based ethanol in the United States and research into the next generation of biofuels. The trend is changing the national agricultural landscape and has raised concerns about potential impacts on the nation’s water resources. To help illuminate these issues, the National Research Council held a colloquium on July 12, 2007 in Washington, DC. Water Implications of Biofuels Production in the United States, based in part on discussions at the colloquium, concludes that if projected future increases in use of corn for ethanol production do occur, the increase in harm to water quality could be considerable from the increases in fertilizer use, pesticide use, and soil erosion associated with growing crops such as corn. Water supply problems could also develop, both from the water needed to grow biofuels crops and water used at ethanol processing plants, especially in regions where water supplies are already overdrawn. The production of “cellulosic ethanol,” derived from fibrous material such as wheat straw, native grasses, and forest trimmings is expected to have less water quality impact but cannot yet be produced on a commerical scale. To move toward a goal of reducing water impacts of biofuels, a policy bridge will likely be needed to encourage growth of new technologies, best agricultural practies, and the development of traditional and cellulosic crops that require less water and fertilizer and are optimized for fuel production.
  • Water Resources Sector Technical Input Interim Report In Support of the U.S. Global Change Research Program 2014 National Climate AssessmentThis report is an assessment of recent, relevant information on the effects of climate change on freshwater resources. The body of scientific literature on climate change and water resources is vast and growing. The focus of this report is primarily on information that is well-documented, peer-reviewed, and useful to assess impacts of climate change on freshwater resources, including key vulnerabilities, and the development of adaptation and mitigation strategies. The report is organized by six key issues: (1) Precipitation patterns and intensity; (2) Surface water, including streamflow, snowmelt, and floods; (3) Groundwater, including soil moisture; (4) Water Quality; (5) Water Resources Management Implications, and (6) Adaptation. Information presented herein primarily is based on (1) observations and (2) projections of change.
  • Water Reuse: Potential for Expanding the Nation’s Water Supply Through Reuse of Municipal Wastewater: Expanding water reuse–the use of treated wastewater for beneficial purposes including irrigation, industrial uses, and drinking water augmentation–could significantly increase the nation’s total available water resources. Water Reuse presents a portfolio of treatment options available to mitigate water quality issues in reclaimed water along with new analysis suggesting that the risk of exposure to certain microbial and chemical contaminants from drinking reclaimed water does not appear to be any higher than the risk experienced in at least some current drinking water treatment systems, and may be orders of magnitude lower. This report recommends adjustments to the federal regulatory framework that could enhance public health protection for both planned and unplanned (or de facto) reuse and increase public confidence in water reuse.
  • Water Vulnerabilities for Existing Coal-Fired Power Plants: This study identified coal-fired power plants that are considered vulnerable to water demand and supply issues by using a geographical information system (GIS) that facilitated the analysis of plant-specific data for more than 500 plants in the NETL’s Coal Power Plant Database (CPPDB) (NETL 2007a) simultaneously with 18 indicators of water demand and supply. Two types of demand indicators were evaluated. The first type consisted of geographical areas where specific conditions can generate demand vulnerabilities. These conditions include high projected future water consumption by thermoelectric power plants, high projected future water consumption by all users, high rates of water withdrawal per square mile (mi2), high projected population increases, and areas projected to be in a water crisis or conflict by 2025. The second type of demand indicator was plant specific. These indicators were developed for each plant and include annual water consumption and withdrawal rates and intensities, net annual power generation, and carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions. The supply indictors, which are also area based, include areas with low precipitation, high temperatures, low streamflow, and drought.

Energy Supply

  • Global Change Assessment Model (GCAM): GCAM is a dynamic-recursive model with technology-rich representations of the economy, energy sector, land use and water linked to a climate model of intermediate complexity that can be used to explore climate change mitigation policies including carbon taxes, carbon trading, regulations and accelerated deployment of energy technology. Regional population and labor productivity growth assumptions drive the energy and land-use systems employing numerous technology options to produce, transform, and provide energy services as well as to produce agriculture and forest products, and to determine land use and land cover. Using a run period extending from 1990-2095 at 5 year intervals, GCAM has been used to explore the potential role of emerging energy supply technologies and the greenhouse gas consequences of specific policy measures or energy technology adoption including: CO2 capture and storage, bioenergy, hydrogen systems, nuclear energy, renewable energy technology, and energy use technology in buildings, industry and the transportation sectors. GCAM is an Representative Concentration Pathway (RCP)-class model. This means it can be used to simulate scenarios, policies, and emission targets from various sources including the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). Output includes projections of future energy supply and demand and the resulting greenhouse gas emissions, radiative forcing and climate effects of 16 greenhouse gases, aerosols and short-lived species at 0.5×0.5 degree resolution, contingent on assumptions about future population, economy, technology, and climate mitigation policy.
  • Standard Unified Modeling, Mapping & Integration Toolkit: SUMMIT is a modeling & simulation software environment that enables analysts, emergency planners, responders, and decision makers to seamlessly access integrated suites of modeling tools & data sources for planning, exercise, or operational response. SUMMIT is being used in small and large-scale exercises to accelerate scenario planning, provide scientifically-grounded scenario data, and enhance the realism and common operating picture.
  • System Advisor Model (SAM): SAM is a performance and financial model designed to facilitate decision making for people involved in the renewable energy industry. SAM makes performance predictions and cost of energy estimates for grid-connected power projects based on installation and operating costs and system design parameters that you specify as inputs to the model. Projects can be either on the customer side of the utility meter, where they buy and sell electricity at retail rates, or on the utility side of the meter, where they sell electricity at a price negotiated through a power purchase agreement (PPA). SAM is an electric power generation model and assumes that the renewable energy system delivers power either to an electric grid, or to a grid-connected building or facility to meet electric load. It does not model thermal energy systems that meet a thermal process load. SAM also does not model isolated or off-grid power systems, and does not model systems with electricity storage batteries. Creating a SAM file involves choosing both a performance model and a financial model to represent your project. SAM automatically populates input variables with a set of default values based on your choices. After you create the file, you modify the inputs to provide information about the project’s location, the type of equipment in the system, the cost of installing and operating the system, and financial and incentives assumptions. It is your responsibility as an analyst to review and modify all of the input data as appropriate for each analysis. Once you are satisfied with the input variable values, you run simulations, and then examine results. A typical analysis involves running simulations, examining results, revising inputs, and repeating that process until you understand and have confidence in the results.
  • Climate Change: Energy Infrastructure Risks and Adaptation Efforts: The report contains reviews of climate change assessments; analysis of relevant studies and agency documents; and interviews of federal agency officials and industry stakeholders, including energy companies at four sites that have implemented adaptive measures.
  • Comparing the Impacts of Northeast Hurricanes on Energy Infrastructure: This report compares two major hurricanes that hit the Northeastern United States in 2011 and 2012 and their impacts on energy infrastructure.
  • Comparing the Impacts of the 2005 and 2008 Hurricanes on U.S. Energy Infrastructure: This report compares the impact of the major hurricanes of 2005 and 2008 on U.S. energy systems, including those that produce, process and transport oil, natural gas, and electricity. The magnitude and duration of hurricane-induced production and supply disruptions are compared, as well as the extent of damage to energy infrastructure. The effect of disruptions on energy prices and supply is analyzed. The report describes the actions taken by DOE and other Federal agencies to assist the energy industry in restoration.
  • Consumptive Water Use in the Production of Ethanol and Petroleum Gasoline: In this study, we focus on two major steps in the lifecycle feedstock production (farming, oil recovery) and fuel processing/production (ethanol production and oil refining). For corn ethanol, we focus on three of the 10 farm-production regions defined by the U.S. Department of Agriculture. They are Region 5 (Iowa, Indiana, Illinois, Ohio, and Missouri), Region 6 (Minnesota, Wisconsin, and Michigan), and Region 7 (North Dakota, South Dakota, Nebraska, and Kansas). These three regions consistently account for 89 percent of U.S. corn production and 95 percent of its ethanol production (RFA 2007). We examine corn ethanol produced via dry milling and cellulosic ethanol produced via biochemical and thermochemical conversion technologies.
  • Department of Homeland Security Climate Change Adaptation Roadmap: Based on the Secretary’s guidance, the initial focus areas of the Roadmap include Departmental cross-cutting adaptation activities, resilient critical infrastructure and key resources, resilience to disasters, and the Arctic. The 42 actions identified in the CCA Roadmap are the result of deliberate study and analysis by select DHS headquarters elements and operational Components. As with all homeland security activities, these actions seek to ensure security, resilience, and customs and exchange with the world across all core mission areas.
  • Effect of Sea Level Rise on Energy Infrastructure in Four Major Metropolitan Areas: The study overlays information about potential Sea Level Risk (SLR) exposure to energy infrastructure locations around 4 major US cities, using Geographic Information Systems (GIS) tools. To assess possible exposure to SLR, the study uses recent government data and modeling results, including: i) Global SLR scenarios that are based on alternative assumptions about the effects of climate change on sea levels, from the Third National Climate Assessment (NCA); ii) Analyses of the geographic extent of inundation from higher sea levels, from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) Coastal Services Center (CSC); and iii) Locations of energy assets identified by the OE as part of ongoing studies of energy infrastructure.
  • Effects of Climate Change on Federal Hydropower: This report contains data from a new, nationwide study of the observed and projected impacts of global climate change on federal hydropower generation using climate modeling as well as hydrological and hydro power generation data.
  • Energy’s Water Demand: Trends, Vulnerabilities and Management: The report first lays out the trends shaping energy’s water use; second, it discusses energy’s vulnerability to water constraints; and third, it discusses projections of energy’s water use. It then explores three regional examples of energy’s water use: shale gas in Texas, solar energy in the Southwest, and biofuels in the High Plains. Finally, it discusses policy options and legislative approaches for managing energy’s water use. Several appendixes provide more detailed information on specific technologies, fuels, and trends. The report does not discuss in detail the energy sector’s water quality impacts, although they represent their own challenges, as shown by concerns over the water quality effects of hydraulic fracturing, mountaintop mining, and the Deepwater Horizon oil spill. Energy use by the water sector also is not discussed in this report, although water conservation is one of many available means for reducing energy demand.
  • Energy-Water Nexus: Coordinated Federal Approach Needed to Better Manage Energy and Water Tradeoffs: To conduct this work, GAO systematically reviewed its five reports to identify key nexus issues. GAO also used a content analysis of related literature and interviews with specialists to validate these themes.
  • Estimated Use of Water in the United States in 2005: U.S. Geological Survey Circular 1344: This report, “Estimated use of water in the United States in 2005,” is the twelfth in a series of report that has been compiled and published by the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) every 5 years since 1950. These reports include estimates of water withdrawals by State, source of water, and category of use. Data from 2005 and earlier years can be used to indicated changes in water use over time, among different geographic areas, and from different sources. Water-use information complements the study of surface-water and groundwater availability, and is essential to understanding how future water demands will be met while maintaining adequate water quality and quantities for human and ecosystem needs. This report presents water-use estimates by source and by State for eight categories of water use for 2005. Sources include surface water and groundwater, both fresh and saline. Categories include public supply, domestic, irrigation, livestock, aquaculture, industrial, mining, and thermoelectric power. All withdrawals for the public-supply, domestic, irrigation, and livestock categories are shown as freshwater, although in some areas water is treated to reduce salinity for these uses. Both fresh and saline withdrawals are shown for industrial, mining, and thermoelectric-power generation uses. Geographic areas include 50 States, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, and the U.S. Virgin Islands, which are hereafter referred to as “States” for brevity.
  • Estimating Freshwater Needs to Meet Future Thermoelectric Generation Requirements 2010 Update: This report is an update to the September 2009 report using projection from EIA’s AEO 2010 forecast. With increased climate change concerns and the possible future policies regarding carbon capture and sequestration (CCS), this report also examines the impact that CCS technologies would have on water withdrawal and consumption. Future freshwater withdrawal and consumption requirements for the U.S. thermoelectric generation sector were estimated for five cases, using AEO 2010 regional projections for capacity additions and retirements.
  • Estimating Risk to California Energy Infrastructure from Projected Climate Change: This report outlines the results of a study of the impact of climate change on the energy infrastructure of California and the San Francisco Bay region, including impacts on power plant generation; transmission line and substation capacity during heat spells; wildfires near transmission lines; sea level encroachment upon power plants, substations, and natural gas facilities; and peak electrical demand.
  • Impact of Drought on U.S. Steam Electric Power Plant Cooling Water Intakes and Related Water Resource Management Issues: For this study, the sources of cooling water used by the U.S. steam electric power plant fleet were examined. This effort entailed development of a database of power plants and cooling water intake locations and depths for those plants that use surface water as a source of cooling water. Development of the database and its general characteristics are described in Chapter 2 of this report. Examination of the database gives an indication of how low water levels can drop before cooling water intakes cease to function. Water level drops are evaluated against a number of different power plant characteristics, such as the nature of the water source (river vs. lake or reservoir) and type of plant (nuclear vs. fossil fuel).
  • Impact of Future Climate Variability on ERCOT Thermoelectric Power Generation: This report summarizes a study to determine the medium-term (through the year 2030) impacts of future climate and drought scenarios on electricity generation by the Electric Reliability Council of Texas (ERCOT). Because water in reservoirs is used to cool many steam cycle-based power plants, significantly low water levels can reduce the ability to cool power plants. This reduced cooling ability can come from physical supply limitations or environmental constraints (power plant effluent temperatures exceeding permitted limits). The approach projects future climate and water demands to determine stream flows, water storage in reservoirs, and power plant effluent temperatures. The results for historical and future water availability, demand, its cost, reservoir storage, and stream flow are reported for U.S. Geological Survey 8-digit hydrologic unit code (HUC8) water basins. The water and climate data are compared to power plant characteristics and past performance data to infer the likelihood that future summer power generation could be curtailed at a power plant. Beyond impacts on the existing fleet of power plants, this study also considers siting of future power plants to avoid regions of limited water availability.
  • Oil and Gas Produced Water Management and Beneficial Use in the Western United States: Produced water from oil and gas operations is currently handled as a waste product. The quality of produced water varies significantly based on the geochemistry of the producing formation, the type of hydrocarbon produced, and the characteristics of the producing well. If produced water meets appropriate water quality criteria, it may be used beneficially for purposes such as irrigation, livestock watering, aquifer storage, streamflow augmentation, and municipal and industrial uses. Treatment may be required to improve the quality of produced water so that it can be put to beneficial use.
  • Risk Assessment of Climate Systems for National Security: Climate change, through drought, flooding, storms, heat waves, and melting Arctic ice, affects the production and flow of resources within and among geographical regions. The interactions among governments, populations, and sectors of the economy require integrated assessment based on risk, through uncertainty quantification (UQ). This project evaluated the capabilities with Sandia National Laboratories to perform such integrated analyses, as they relate to (inter)national security. The combining of the UQ results from climate models with hydrological and economic/infrastructure impact modeling appears to offer the best capability for national security risk assessments.
  • Synthesis and Assessment Product (SAP) 4.5: Effects of Climate Change on Energy Production and Use in the United States: This report summarizes what is currently known about effects of climate change on energy production and use in the United States.The report concludes that, based on what is known now [2008], there are reasons to pay close attention to possible climate change impacts on energy production and use and to consider ways to adapt to possible adverse impacts and take advantage of possible positive impacts.
  • The Energy Water Nexus: Challenges and Opportunities: The report frames the integrated challenge and opportunity space around the water-energy nexus for DOE and its partners. It further explains and strengthens the logical structure underpinning DOE’s long-standing technology and modeling research and development (R&D) efforts, and lays the foundation for future efforts. The report identifies six strategic pillars that will serve as the foundation for coordinating R&D.
  • The Nexus of Biofuels, Climate Change, and Human Health: Workshop Summary: Liquid fuels are a major part of modern life. They supply energy for ground, water, and air transportation as well as power for industrial and farming machinery. But fossil fuels – the dominant liquid fuel in use for well over a century – have many disadvantages. The use of fossil fuels has obvious health downsides, such as emissions of pollutants that are directly harmful to health. The burning of fossil fuels produces greenhouse gases, which contribute to global warming, itself a long-term threat to human health. There have also been health concerns related to insecurity of liquid fuel supplies and the potential of international conflicts being caused by fuel scarcity. Furthermore, there are concerns that the world’s large but still limited supply of fossil fuels could be strained by the increasing demand that results from societies around the world achieving greater prosperity. In the face of these concerns, new policies have been created that encourage the development of renewable sources of energy in general and biofuels in particular.
  • U.S. Climate Change Science Program Synthesis and Assessment Product 4.7, Impacts of Climate Change and Variability on Transportation Systems and Infrastructure: Gulf Coast Study, Phase I: A case study approach was selected for this research as an approach that would generate useful information for local and regional decision makers, while helping to develop research methodologies for application in other locations. In defining the study area, the DOT sought to design a project that would increase the knowledge base regarding the risks and sensitivities of all modes of transportation infrastructure to climate variability and change, the significance of these risks, and the range of adaptation strategies that can be considered to ensure a robust and reliable transportation network. The availability of reliable data, interest of local agencies and stakeholders, and transferability of findings were also important criteria in selecting the study area. This study focuses on those climate factors which are relevant to the Gulf Coast; in other areas different aspects of climate change may be significant. The modeled climate projections and the specific implications of these scenarios for transportation facilities are specific to the Gulf Coast study area. However, the methods presented in this report can be applied to any region.
  • U.S. Energy Sector Vulnerabilities to Climate Change and Extreme Weather: Report containing information on climate (temperature, precipitation, humidity, etc.) coupled with data on U.S. energy system infrastructures, including the locations of fossil and renewable energy sources, energy conversion facilities, and transmission and distribution pathways.
  • Use of Non-Traditional Water for Power Plant Applications: An Overview of DOE/NETL R&D Efforts: This report focuses on the research that has been done to date for the Non-Traditional Sources of Process and Cooling Water component. Studies in this research area focus on identifying potential new water sources, including brackish and saline water supplies and various domestic and industrial wastewaters. In particular, these studies focus on understanding the location, volumes, and quality of different non-traditional waters, as well as treatment technologies to reduce the scaling, biofouling, and corrosion potential of available impaired waters that would not otherwise be useful in a cooling water system or other processes within a thermoelectric plant.
  • Water Implications of Biofuels Production in the United States: National interests in greater energy independence, concurrent with favorable market forces, have driven increased production of corn-based ethanol in the United States and research into the next generation of biofuels. The trend is changing the national agricultural landscape and has raised concerns about potential impacts on the nation’s water resources. To help illuminate these issues, the National Research Council held a colloquium on July 12, 2007 in Washington, DC. Water Implications of Biofuels Production in the United States, based in part on discussions at the colloquium, concludes that if projected future increases in use of corn for ethanol production do occur, the increase in harm to water quality could be considerable from the increases in fertilizer use, pesticide use, and soil erosion associated with growing crops such as corn. Water supply problems could also develop, both from the water needed to grow biofuels crops and water used at ethanol processing plants, especially in regions where water supplies are already overdrawn. The production of “cellulosic ethanol,” derived from fibrous material such as wheat straw, native grasses, and forest trimmings is expected to have less water quality impact but cannot yet be produced on a commerical scale. To move toward a goal of reducing water impacts of biofuels, a policy bridge will likely be needed to encourage growth of new technologies, best agricultural practies, and the development of traditional and cellulosic crops that require less water and fertilizer and are optimized for fuel production.
  • Water Reuse: Potential for Expanding the Nation’s Water Supply Through Reuse of Municipal Wastewater: Expanding water reuse–the use of treated wastewater for beneficial purposes including irrigation, industrial uses, and drinking water augmentation–could significantly increase the nation’s total available water resources. Water Reuse presents a portfolio of treatment options available to mitigate water quality issues in reclaimed water along with new analysis suggesting that the risk of exposure to certain microbial and chemical contaminants from drinking reclaimed water does not appear to be any higher than the risk experienced in at least some current drinking water treatment systems, and may be orders of magnitude lower. This report recommends adjustments to the federal regulatory framework that could enhance public health protection for both planned and unplanned (or de facto) reuse and increase public confidence in water reuse.
  • Water Vulnerabilities for Existing Coal-Fired Power Plants: This study identified coal-fired power plants that are considered vulnerable to water demand and supply issues by using a geographical information system (GIS) that facilitated the analysis of plant-specific data for more than 500 plants in the NETL’s Coal Power Plant Database (CPPDB) (NETL 2007a) simultaneously with 18 indicators of water demand and supply. Two types of demand indicators were evaluated. The first type consisted of geographical areas where specific conditions can generate demand vulnerabilities. These conditions include high projected future water consumption by thermoelectric power plants, high projected future water consumption by all users, high rates of water withdrawal per square mile (mi2), high projected population increases, and areas projected to be in a water crisis or conflict by 2025. The second type of demand indicator was plant specific. These indicators were developed for each plant and include annual water consumption and withdrawal rates and intensities, net annual power generation, and carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions. The supply indictors, which are also area based, include areas with low precipitation, high temperatures, low streamflow, and drought.
  • Climate and Energy-Water-Land System Interactions: This report provides a framework to characterize and understand the important elements of climate and energy-water-land (EWL) system interactions. It identifies many of the important issues, discusses our understanding of those issues, and identifies the research needs to address the priority scientific challenges and gaps in our understanding. Much of the discussion is organized around two discrete case studies with the broad themes of (1) extreme events and (2) regional differences. These case studies help demonstrate unique ways in which energy-water-land interactions can occur and be influenced by climate. In addition, a series of œillustrations portray representative decision-making considerations relevant to climate-EWL interfaces.

Energy Demand

  • EnergyPlus Energy Simulation Software: EnergyPlus is a whole building energy simulation program that engineers, architects, and researchers use to model energy and water use in buildings. Modeling the performance of a building with EnergyPlus enables building professionals to optimize the building design to use less energy and water. Each version of EnergyPlus is tested extensively before release. EnergyPlus models heating, cooling, lighting, ventilation, other energy flows, and water use. EnergyPlus includes many innovative simulation capabilities: time-steps less than an hour, modular systems and plant integrated with heat balance-based zone simulation, multizone air flow, thermal comfort, water use, natural ventilation, and photovoltaic systems. Read about new features.
  • Global Change Assessment Model (GCAM): GCAM is a dynamic-recursive model with technology-rich representations of the economy, energy sector, land use and water linked to a climate model of intermediate complexity that can be used to explore climate change mitigation policies including carbon taxes, carbon trading, regulations and accelerated deployment of energy technology. Regional population and labor productivity growth assumptions drive the energy and land-use systems employing numerous technology options to produce, transform, and provide energy services as well as to produce agriculture and forest products, and to determine land use and land cover. Using a run period extending from 1990-2095 at 5 year intervals, GCAM has been used to explore the potential role of emerging energy supply technologies and the greenhouse gas consequences of specific policy measures or energy technology adoption including; CO2 capture and storage, bioenergy, hydrogen systems, nuclear energy, renewable energy technology, and energy use technology in buildings, industry and the transportation sectors. GCAM is an Representative Concentration Pathway (RCP)-class model. This means it can be used to simulate scenarios, policies, and emission targets from various sources including the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). Output includes projections of future energy supply and demand and the resulting greenhouse gas emissions, radiative forcing and climate effects of 16 greenhouse gases, aerosols and short-lived species at 0.5×0.5 degree resolution, contingent on assumptions about future population, economy, technology, and climate mitigation policy.
  • Standard Unified Modeling, Mapping & Integration Toolkit: SUMMIT is a modeling & simulation software environment that enables analysts, emergency planners, responders, and decision makers to seamlessly access integrated suites of modeling tools & data sources for planning, exercise, or operational response. SUMMIT is being used in small and large-scale exercises to accelerate scenario planning, provide scientifically-grounded scenario data, and enhance the realism and common operating picture.
  • System Advisor Model (SAM): SAM is a performance and financial model designed to facilitate decision making for people involved in the renewable energy industry. SAM makes performance predictions and cost of energy estimates for grid-connected power projects based on installation and operating costs and system design parameters that you specify as inputs to the model. Projects can be either on the customer side of the utility meter, where they buy and sell electricity at retail rates, or on the utility side of the meter, where they sell electricity at a price negotiated through a power purchase agreement (PPA). SAM is an electric power generation model and assumes that the renewable energy system delivers power either to an electric grid, or to a grid-connected building or facility to meet electric load. It does not model thermal energy systems that meet a thermal process load. SAM also does not model isolated or off-grid power systems, and does not model systems with electricity storage batteries. Creating a SAM file involves choosing both a performance model and a financial model to represent your project. SAM automatically populates input variables with a set of default values based on your choices. After you create the file, you modify the inputs to provide information about the project’s location, the type of equipment in the system, the cost of installing and operating the system, and financial and incentives assumptions. It is your responsibility as an analyst to review and modify all of the input data as appropriate for each analysis. Once you are satisfied with the input variable values, you run simulations, and then examine results. A typical analysis involves running simulations, examining results, revising inputs, and repeating that process until you understand and have confidence in the results.
  • Climate Change and the Long-Term Evolution of the Buildings Sector: Buildings account for 40 percent of U.S. energy use and are the dominant driver of daily and seasonal electric load cycles. Understanding the possible long-term evolution in these energy demands, their potential response to climate policies, and the potential benefits of advances in the technologies that provide them are critical for informing climate-based policy decisions. This document presents a new, service-based approach to understanding the long-term evolution of the U.S. buildings sector within the context of a long-term, global, integrated-assessment model called MiniCAM. The buildings module explicitly represents the demands for energy services, such as heating, cooling, and lighting along with the technologies to supply these services. Future scenarios for U.S. building energy service and energy use are presented. Building final energy use increases over the 21st century with a concurrent increase in the fraction of energy supplied by electricity. Constraining carbon emissions lowers natural gas and fuel oil use, but results in little change in electricity use.
  • Comparing the Impacts of Northeast Hurricanes on Energy Infrastructure: This report compares two major hurricanes that hit the Northeastern United States in 2011 and 2012 and their impacts on energy infrastructure.
  • Energy’s Water Demand: Trends, Vulnerabilities and Management: The report first lays out the trends shaping energy’s water use; second, it discusses energy’s vulnerability to water constraints; and third, it discusses projections of energy’s water use. It then explores three regional examples of energy’s water use: shale gas in Texas, solar energy in the Southwest, and biofuels in the High Plains. Finally, it discusses policy options and legislative approaches for managing energy’s water use. Several appendixes provide more detailed information on specific technologies, fuels, and trends. The report does not discuss in detail the energy sector’s water quality impacts, although they represent their own challenges, as shown by concerns over the water quality effects of hydraulic fracturing, mountaintop mining, and the Deepwater Horizon oil spill. Energy use by the water sector also is not discussed in this report, although water conservation is one of many available means for reducing energy demand.
  • Energy-Water Nexus: Coordinated Federal Approach Needed to Better Manage Energy and Water Tradeoffs: To conduct this work, GAO systematically reviewed its five reports to identify key nexus issues. GAO also used a content analysis of related literature and interviews with specialists to validate these themes.
  • Estimated Use of Water in the United States in 2005: U.S. Geological Survey Circular 1344: This report, “Estimated use of water in the United States in 2005,” is the twelfth in a series of report that has been compiled and published by the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) every 5 years since 1950. These reports include estimates of water withdrawals by State, source of water, and category of use. Data from 2005 and earlier years can be used to indicated changes in water use over time, among different geographic areas, and from different sources. Water-use information complements the study of surface-water and groundwater availability, and is essential to understanding how future water demands will be met while maintaining adequate water quality and quantities for human and ecosystem needs. This report presents water-use estimates by source and by State for eight categories of water use for 2005. Sources include surface water and groundwater, both fresh and saline. Categories include public supply, domestic, irrigation, livestock, aquaculture, industrial, mining, and thermoelectric power. All withdrawals for the public-supply, domestic, irrigation, and livestock categories are shown as freshwater, although in some areas water is treated to reduce salinity for these uses. Both fresh and saline withdrawals are shown for industrial, mining, and thermoelectric-power generation uses. Geographic areas include 50 States, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, and the U.S. Virgin Islands, which are hereafter referred to as “States” for brevity.
  • Estimating Risk to California Energy Infrastructure from Projected Climate Change: This report outlines the results of a study of the impact of climate change on the energy infrastructure of California and the San Francisco Bay region, including impacts on power plant generation; transmission line and substation capacity during heat spells; wildfires near transmission lines; sea level encroachment upon power plants, substations, and natural gas facilities; and peak electrical demand.
  • Impact of Drought on U.S. Steam Electric Power Plant Cooling Water Intakes and Related Water Resource Management Issues: For this study, the sources of cooling water used by the U.S. steam electric power plant fleet were examined. This effort entailed development of a database of power plants and cooling water intake locations and depths for those plants that use surface water as a source of cooling water. Development of the database and its general characteristics are described in Chapter 2 of this report. Examination of the database gives an indication of how low water levels can drop before cooling water intakes cease to function. Water level drops are evaluated against a number of different power plant characteristics, such as the nature of the water source (river vs. lake or reservoir) and type of plant (nuclear vs. fossil fuel).
  • New York City Energy-Water Integrated Planning: A Pilot Study: The first task was to identify energy-water issues of importance to New York City. This exercise was followed by discussion of the qualities and capabilities that an ideal decision support tool should display to address these issues. The decision was made to start with an existing energy model, the New York City version of the MARKAL model, developed originally at BNL and now used globally by many groups for energy analysis. MARKAL has the virtue of being well-vetted, transparent, and capable of calculating material flows, such as water use by the energy system and energy requirements of water technology.
  • Synthesis and Assessment Product (SAP) 4.5: Effects of Climate Change on Energy Production and Use in the United States: This report summarizes what is currently known about effects of climate change on energy production and use in the United States.The report concludes that, based on what is known now [2008], there are reasons to pay close attention to possible climate change impacts on energy production and use and to consider ways to adapt to possible adverse impacts and take advantage of possible positive impacts.
  • The Nexus of Biofuels, Climate Change, and Human Health: Workshop Summary: Liquid fuels are a major part of modern life. They supply energy for ground, water, and air transportation as well as power for industrial and farming machinery. But fossil fuels – the dominant liquid fuel in use for well over a century – have many disadvantages. The use of fossil fuels has obvious health downsides, such as emissions of pollutants that are directly harmful to health. The burning of fossil fuels produces greenhouse gases, which contribute to global warming, itself a long-term threat to human health. There have also been health concerns related to insecurity of liquid fuel supplies and the potential of international conflicts being caused by fuel scarcity. Furthermore, there are concerns that the world’s large but still limited supply of fossil fuels could be strained by the increasing demand that results from societies around the world achieving greater prosperity. In the face of these concerns, new policies have been created that encourage the development of renewable sources of energy in general and biofuels in particular.
  • Use of Non-Traditional Water for Power Plant Applications: An Overview of DOE/NETL R&D Efforts: This report focuses on the research that has been done to date for the Non-Traditional Sources of Process and Cooling Water component. Studies in this research area focus on identifying potential new water sources, including brackish and saline water supplies and various domestic and industrial wastewaters. In particular, these studies focus on understanding the location, volumes, and quality of different non-traditional waters, as well as treatment technologies to reduce the scaling, biofouling, and corrosion potential of available impaired waters that would not otherwise be useful in a cooling water system or other processes within a thermoelectric plant.
  • Water Implications of Biofuels Production in the United States: National interests in greater energy independence, concurrent with favorable market forces, have driven increased production of corn-based ethanol in the United States and research into the next generation of biofuels. The trend is changing the national agricultural landscape and has raised concerns about potential impacts on the nation’s water resources. To help illuminate these issues, the National Research Council held a colloquium on July 12, 2007 in Washington, DC. Water Implications of Biofuels Production in the United States, based in part on discussions at the colloquium, concludes that if projected future increases in use of corn for ethanol production do occur, the increase in harm to water quality could be considerable from the increases in fertilizer use, pesticide use, and soil erosion associated with growing crops such as corn. Water supply problems could also develop, both from the water needed to grow biofuels crops and water used at ethanol processing plants, especially in regions where water supplies are already overdrawn. The production of “cellulosic ethanol,” derived from fibrous material such as wheat straw, native grasses, and forest trimmings is expected to have less water quality impact but cannot yet be produced on a commerical scale. To move toward a goal of reducing water impacts of biofuels, a policy bridge will likely be needed to encourage growth of new technologies, best agricultural practies, and the development of traditional and cellulosic crops that require less water and fertilizer and are optimized for fuel production.
  • Water Reuse: Potential for Expanding the Nation’s Water Supply Through Reuse of Municipal Wastewater: Expanding water reuse–the use of treated wastewater for beneficial purposes including irrigation, industrial uses, and drinking water augmentation–could significantly increase the nation’s total available water resources. Water Reuse presents a portfolio of treatment options available to mitigate water quality issues in reclaimed water along with new analysis suggesting that the risk of exposure to certain microbial and chemical contaminants from drinking reclaimed water does not appear to be any higher than the risk experienced in at least some current drinking water treatment systems, and may be orders of magnitude lower. This report recommends adjustments to the federal regulatory framework that could enhance public health protection for both planned and unplanned (or de facto) reuse and increase public confidence in water reuse.

Energy Conversion 

  • System Advisor Model (SAM): SAM is a performance and financial model designed to facilitate decision making for people involved in the renewable energy industry. SAM makes performance predictions and cost of energy estimates for grid-connected power projects based on installation and operating costs and system design parameters that you specify as inputs to the model. Projects can be either on the customer side of the utility meter, where they buy and sell electricity at retail rates, or on the utility side of the meter, where they sell electricity at a price negotiated through a power purchase agreement (PPA). SAM is an electric power generation model and assumes that the renewable energy system delivers power either to an electric grid, or to a grid-connected building or facility to meet electric load. It does not model thermal energy systems that meet a thermal process load. SAM also does not model isolated or off-grid power systems, and does not model systems with electricity storage batteries. Creating a SAM file involves choosing both a performance model and a financial model to represent your project. SAM automatically populates input variables with a set of default values based on your choices. After you create the file, you modify the inputs to provide information about the project’s location, the type of equipment in the system, the cost of installing and operating the system, and financial and incentives assumptions. It is your responsibility as an analyst to review and modify all of the input data as appropriate for each analysis. Once you are satisfied with the input variable values, you run simulations, and then examine results. A typical analysis involves running simulations, examining results, revising inputs, and repeating that process until you understand and have confidence in the results.
  • A Review of Operational Water Consumption and Withdrawal Factors for Electricity Generating Technologies: This report provides estimates of operational water withdrawal and water consumption factors for electricity generating technologies in the United States. Estimates of water factors were collected from published primary literature and were not modified except for unit conversions. The presented water factors may be useful in modeling and policy analyses where reliable power plant level data are not available.
  • Climate and Energy-Water-Land System Interactions This report provides a framework to characterize and understand the important elements of climate and energy-water-land (EWL) system interactions. It identifies many of the important issues, discusses our understanding of those issues, and identifies the research needs to address the priority scientific challenges and gaps in our understanding. Much of the discussion is organized around two discrete case studies with the broad themes of (1) extreme events and (2) regional differences. These case studies help demonstrate unique ways in which energy-water-land interactions can occur and be influenced by climate. In addition, a series of œillustrations portray representative decision-making considerations relevant to climate-EWL interfaces.
  • Comparing the Impacts of the 2005 and 2008 Hurricanes on U.S. Energy Infrastructure: This report compares the impact of the major hurricanes of 2005 and 2008 on U.S. energy systems, including those that produce, process and transport oil, natural gas, and electricity. The magnitude and duration of hurricane-induced production and supply disruptions are compared, as well as the extent of damage to energy infrastructure. The effect of disruptions on energy prices and supply is analyzed. The report describes the actions taken by DOE and other Federal agencies to assist the energy industry in restoration.
  • Consumptive Water Use in the Production of Ethanol and Petroleum Gasoline: In this study, we focus on two major steps in the lifecycle feedstock production (farming, oil recovery) and fuel processing/production (ethanol production and oil refining). For corn ethanol, we focus on three of the 10 farm-production regions defined by the U.S. Department of Agriculture. They are Region 5 (Iowa, Indiana, Illinois, Ohio, and Missouri), Region 6 (Minnesota, Wisconsin, and Michigan), and Region 7 (North Dakota, South Dakota, Nebraska, and Kansas). These three regions consistently account for 89 percent of U.S. corn production and 95 percent of its ethanol production (RFA 2007). We examine corn ethanol produced via dry milling and cellulosic ethanol produced via biochemical and thermochemical conversion technologies.
  • Department of Homeland Security Climate Change Adaptation Roadmap: Based on the Secretary’s guidance, the initial focus areas of the Roadmap include Departmental cross-cutting adaptation activities, resilient critical infrastructure and key resources, resilience to disasters, and the Arctic. The 42 actions identified in the CCA Roadmap are the result of deliberate study and analysis by select DHS headquarters elements and operational Components. As with all homeland security activities, these actions seek to ensure security, resilience, and customs and exchange with the world across all core mission areas.
  • Effect of Sea Level Rise on Energy Infrastructure in Four Major Metropolitan Areas: The study overlays information about potential Sea Level Risk (SLR) exposure to energy infrastructure locations around 4 major US cities, using Geographic Information Systems (GIS) tools. To assess possible exposure to SLR, the study uses recent government data and modeling results, including: i) Global SLR scenarios that are based on alternative assumptions about the effects of climate change on sea levels, from the Third National Climate Assessment (NCA); ii) Analyses of the geographic extent of inundation from higher sea levels, from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) Coastal Services Center (CSC); and iii) Locations of energy assets identified by the OE as part of ongoing studies of energy infrastructure.
  • Effects of Climate Change on Federal Hydropower: This report contains data from a new, nationwide study of the observed and projected impacts of global climate change on federal hydropower generation using climate modeling as well as hydrological and hydro power generation data.
  • Energy-Water Nexus: Coordinated Federal Approach Needed to Better Manage Energy and Water Tradeoffs: To conduct this work, GAO systematically reviewed its five reports to identify key nexus issues. GAO also used a content analysis of related literature and interviews with specialists to validate these themes.
  • Estimating Freshwater Needs to Meet Future Thermoelectric Generation Requirements 2010 Update: This report is an update to the September 2009 report using projection from EIA’s AEO 2010 forecast. With increased climate change concerns and the possible future policies regarding carbon capture and sequestration (CCS), this report also examines the impact that CCS technologies would have on water withdrawal and consumption. Future freshwater withdrawal and consumption requirements for the U.S. thermoelectric generation sector were estimated for five cases, using AEO 2010 regional projections for capacity additions and retirements.
  • Hardening and Resiliency: U.S. Energy Industry Response to Recent Hurricane Seasons: This report focuses on the measures that refiners, petroleum product pipeline operators, and electric utilities in the Gulf Coast have taken to harden their assets and make energy supply to the Southeast more resilient.
  • Impact of Drought on U.S. Steam Electric Power Plant Cooling Water Intakes and Related Water Resource Management Issues: For this study, the sources of cooling water used by the U.S. steam electric power plant fleet were examined. This effort entailed development of a database of power plants and cooling water intake locations and depths for those plants that use surface water as a source of cooling water. Development of the database and its general characteristics are described in Chapter 2 of this report. Examination of the database gives an indication of how low water levels can drop before cooling water intakes cease to function. Water level drops are evaluated against a number of different power plant characteristics, such as the nature of the water source (river vs. lake or reservoir) and type of plant (nuclear vs. fossil fuel).
  • Impact of Future Climate Variability on ERCOT Thermoelectric Power Generation: This report summarizes a study to determine the medium-term (through the year 2030) impacts of future climate and drought scenarios on electricity generation by the Electric Reliability Council of Texas (ERCOT). Because water in reservoirs is used to cool many steam cycle-based power plants, significantly low water levels can reduce the ability to cool power plants. This reduced cooling ability can come from physical supply limitations or environmental constraints (power plant effluent temperatures exceeding permitted limits). The approach projects future climate and water demands to determine stream flows, water storage in reservoirs, and power plant effluent temperatures. The results for historical and future water availability, demand, its cost, reservoir storage, and stream flow are reported for U.S. Geological Survey 8-digit hydrologic unit code (HUC8) water basins. The water and climate data are compared to power plant characteristics and past performance data to infer the likelihood that future summer power generation could be curtailed at a power plant. Beyond impacts on the existing fleet of power plants, this study also considers siting of future power plants to avoid regions of limited water availability.
  • Synthesis and Assessment Product (SAP) 4.5: Effects of Climate Change on Energy Production and Use in the United States: This report summarizes what is currently known about effects of climate change on energy production and use in the United States.The report concludes that, based on what is known now [2008], there are reasons to pay close attention to possible climate change impacts on energy production and use and to consider ways to adapt to possible adverse impacts and take advantage of possible positive impacts.
  • The Energy Water Nexus: Challenges and Opportunities: The report frames the integrated challenge and opportunity space around the water-energy nexus for DOE and its partners. It further explains and strengthens the logical structure underpinning DOE’s long-standing technology and modeling research and development (R&D) efforts, and lays the foundation for future efforts. The report identifies six strategic pillars that will serve as the foundation for coordinating R&D.
  • The Nexus of Biofuels, Climate Change, and Human Health: Workshop Summary: Liquid fuels are a major part of modern life. They supply energy for ground, water, and air transportation as well as power for industrial and farming machinery. But fossil fuels – the dominant liquid fuel in use for well over a century – have many disadvantages. The use of fossil fuels has obvious health downsides, such as emissions of pollutants that are directly harmful to health. The burning of fossil fuels produces greenhouse gases, which contribute to global warming, itself a long-term threat to human health. There have also been health concerns related to insecurity of liquid fuel supplies and the potential of international conflicts being caused by fuel scarcity. Furthermore, there are concerns that the world’s large but still limited supply of fossil fuels could be strained by the increasing demand that results from societies around the world achieving greater prosperity. In the face of these concerns, new policies have been created that encourage the development of renewable sources of energy in general and biofuels in particular.
  • U.S. Climate Change Science Program Synthesis and Assessment Product 4.7, Impacts of Climate Change and Variability on Transportation Systems and Infrastructure: Gulf Coast Study, Phase I: A case study approach was selected for this research as an approach that would generate useful information for local and regional decision makers, while helping to develop research methodologies for application in other locations. In defining the study area, the DOT sought to design a project that would increase the knowledge base regarding the risks and sensitivities of all modes of transportation infrastructure to climate variability and change, the significance of these risks, and the range of adaptation strategies that can be considered to ensure a robust and reliable transportation network. The availability of reliable data, interest of local agencies and stakeholders, and transferability of findings were also important criteria in selecting the study area. This study focuses on those climate factors which are relevant to the Gulf Coast; in other areas different aspects of climate change may be significant. The modeled climate projections and the specific implications of these scenarios for transportation facilities are specific to the Gulf Coast study area. However, the methods presented in this report can be applied to any region.
  • U.S. Energy Sector Vulnerabilities to Climate Change and Extreme Weather: Report containing information on climate (temperature, precipitation, humidity, etc.) coupled with data on U.S. energy system infrastructures, including the locations of fossil and renewable energy sources, energy conversion facilities, and transmission and distribution pathways.
  • Water Vulnerabilities for Existing Coal-Fired Power Plants: This study identified coal-fired power plants that are considered vulnerable to water demand and supply issues by using a geographical information system (GIS) that facilitated the analysis of plant-specific data for more than 500 plants in the NETL’s Coal Power Plant Database (CPPDB) (NETL 2007a) simultaneously with 18 indicators of water demand and supply. Two types of demand indicators were evaluated. The first type consisted of geographical areas where specific conditions can generate demand vulnerabilities. These conditions include high projected future water consumption by thermoelectric power plants, high projected future water consumption by all users, high rates of water withdrawal per square mile (mi2), high projected population increases, and areas projected to be in a water crisis or conflict by 2025. The second type of demand indicator was plant specific. These indicators were developed for each plant and include annual water consumption and withdrawal rates and intensities, net annual power generation, and carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions. The supply indictors, which are also area based, include areas with low precipitation, high temperatures, low streamflow, and drought.

Energy Infrastructure

  • EnergyPlus Energy Simulation Software: EnergyPlus is a whole building energy simulation program that engineers, architects, and researchers use to model energy and water use in buildings. Modeling the performance of a building with EnergyPlus enables building professionals to optimize the building design to use less energy and water. Each version of EnergyPlus is tested extensively before release. EnergyPlus models heating, cooling, lighting, ventilation, other energy flows, and water use. EnergyPlus includes many innovative simulation capabilities: time-steps less than an hour, modular systems and plant integrated with heat balance-based zone simulation, multizone air flow, thermal comfort, water use, natural ventilation, and photovoltaic systems. Read about new features.
  • Standard Unified Modeling, Mapping & Integration Toolkit: SUMMIT is a modeling & simulation software environment that enables analysts, emergency planners, responders, and decision makers to seamlessly access integrated suites of modeling tools & data sources for planning, exercise, or operational response. SUMMIT is being used in small and large-scale exercises to accelerate scenario planning, provide scientifically-grounded scenario data, and enhance the realism and common operating picture.
  • A Review of Operational Water Consumption and Withdrawal Factors for Electricity Generating Technologies: This report provides estimates of operational water withdrawal and water consumption factors for electricity generating technologies in the United States. Estimates of water factors were collected from published primary literature and were not modified except for unit conversions. The presented water factors may be useful in modeling and policy analyses where reliable power plant level data are not available.
  • Climate and Energy-Water-Land System Interactions This report provides a framework to characterize and understand the important elements of climate and energy-water-land (EWL) system interactions. It identifies many of the important issues, discusses our understanding of those issues, and identifies the research needs to address the priority scientific challenges and gaps in our understanding. Much of the discussion is organized around two discrete case studies with the broad themes of (1) extreme events and (2) regional differences. These case studies help demonstrate unique ways in which energy-water-land interactions can occur and be influenced by climate. In addition, a series of œillustrations portray representative decision-making considerations relevant to climate-EWL interfaces.
  • Climate Change and the Long-Term Evolution of the Buildings Sector: Buildings account for 40 percent of U.S. energy use and are the dominant driver of daily and seasonal electric load cycles. Understanding the possible long-term evolution in these energy demands, their potential response to climate policies, and the potential benefits of advances in the technologies that provide them are critical for informing climate-based policy decisions. This document presents a new, service-based approach to understanding the long-term evolution of the U.S. buildings sector within the context of a long-term, global, integrated-assessment model called MiniCAM. The buildings module explicitly represents the demands for energy services, such as heating, cooling, and lighting along with the technologies to supply these services. Future scenarios for U.S. building energy service and energy use are presented. Building final energy use increases over the 21st century with a concurrent increase in the fraction of energy supplied by electricity. Constraining carbon emissions lowers natural gas and fuel oil use, but results in little change in electricity use.
  • Climate Change: Energy Infrastructure Risks and Adaptation Efforts: The report contains reviews of climate change assessments; analysis of relevant studies and agency documents; and interviews of federal agency officials and industry stakeholders, including energy companies at four sites that have implemented adaptive measures.
  • Comparing the Impacts of Northeast Hurricanes on Energy Infrastructure: This report compares two major hurricanes that hit the Northeastern United States in 2011 and 2012 and their impacts on energy infrastructure.
  • Comparing the Impacts of the 2005 and 2008 Hurricanes on U.S. Energy Infrastructure: This report compares the impact of the major hurricanes of 2005 and 2008 on U.S. energy systems, including those that produce, process and transport oil, natural gas, and electricity. The magnitude and duration of hurricane-induced production and supply disruptions are compared, as well as the extent of damage to energy infrastructure. The effect of disruptions on energy prices and supply is analyzed. The report describes the actions taken by DOE and other Federal agencies to assist the energy industry in restoration.
  • Crisis Response and Disaster Resilience 2030: Based on the outputs of a robust and collaborative futures-planning process, this report provides a framework for understanding how the operating environment for emergency management is apt to change in the coming decades.
  • Department of Homeland Security Climate Change Adaptation Roadmap: Based on the Secretary’s guidance, the initial focus areas of the Roadmap include Departmental cross-cutting adaptation activities, resilient critical infrastructure and key resources, resilience to disasters, and the Arctic. The 42 actions identified in the CCA Roadmap are the result of deliberate study and analysis by select DHS headquarters elements and operational Components. As with all homeland security activities, these actions seek to ensure security, resilience, and customs and exchange with the world across all core mission areas.
  • Effect of Sea Level Rise on Energy Infrastructure in Four Major Metropolitan Areas : The study overlays information about potential Sea Level Risk (SLR) exposure to energy infrastructure locations around 4 major US cities, using Geographic Information Systems (GIS) tools. To assess possible exposure to SLR, the study uses recent government data and modeling results, including: i) Global SLR scenarios that are based on alternative assumptions about the effects of climate change on sea levels, from the Third National Climate Assessment (NCA); ii) Analyses of the geographic extent of inundation from higher sea levels, from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) Coastal Services Center (CSC); and iii) Locations of energy assets identified by the OE as part of ongoing studies of energy infrastructure.
  • Effects of Climate Change on Federal Hydropower: This report contains data from a new, nationwide study of the observed and projected impacts of global climate change on federal hydropower generation using climate modeling as well as hydrological and hydro power generation data.
  • Energy-Water Nexus: Coordinated Federal Approach Needed to Better Manage Energy and Water Tradeoffs: To conduct this work, GAO systematically reviewed its five reports to identify key nexus issues. GAO also used a content analysis of related literature and interviews with specialists to validate these themes.
  • Estimating Freshwater Needs to Meet Future Thermoelectric Generation Requirements 2010 Update: This report is an update to the September 2009 report using projection from EIA;s AEO 2010 forecast. With increased climate change concerns and the possible future policies regarding carbon capture and sequestration (CCS), this report also examines the impact that CCS technologies would have on water withdrawal and consumption. Future freshwater withdrawal and consumption requirements for the U.S. thermoelectric generation sector were estimated for five cases, using AEO 2010 regional projections for capacity additions and retirements.
  • Estimating Risk to California Energy Infrastructure from Projected Climate Change: This report outlines the results of a study of the impact of climate change on the energy infrastructure of California and the San Francisco Bay region, including impacts on power plant generation; transmission line and substation capacity during heat spells; wildfires near transmission lines; sea level encroachment upon power plants, substations, and natural gas facilities; and peak electrical demand.
  • Federal Efforts Under Way to Assess Water Infrastructure Vulnerabilities and Address Adaptation Challenges: This report examines (1) actions taken by the Corps and Reclamation since 2009 to assess and respond to the potential effects of climate change on water infrastructure and (2) challenges, if any, faced by the Corps and Reclamation in assessing and responding to the potential effects of climate change on water infrastructure, and the steps the agencies are taking to address them. GAO analyzed the agencies’ climate change adaptation guidance and planning documents and interviewed agency officials and other key stakeholders, including water users, environmental groups, and researchers.
  • Hardening and Resiliency: U.S. Energy Industry Response to Recent Hurricane Seasons: This report focuses on the measures that refiners, petroleum product pipeline operators, and electric utilities in the Gulf Coast have taken to harden their assets and make energy supply to the Southeast more resilient.
  • Impact of Future Climate Variability on ERCOT Thermoelectric Power Generation: This report summarizes a study to determine the medium-term (through the year 2030) impacts of future climate and drought scenarios on electricity generation by the Electric Reliability Council of Texas (ERCOT). Because water in reservoirs is used to cool many steam cycle-based power plants, significantly low water levels can reduce the ability to cool power plants. This reduced cooling ability can come from physical supply limitations or environmental constraints (power plant effluent temperatures exceeding permitted limits). The approach projects future climate and water demands to determine stream flows, water storage in reservoirs, and power plant effluent temperatures. The results for historical and future water availability, demand, its cost, reservoir storage, and stream flow are reported for U.S. Geological Survey 8-digit hydrologic unit code (HUC8) water basins. The water and climate data are compared to power plant characteristics and past performance data to infer the likelihood that future summer power generation could be curtailed at a power plant. Beyond impacts on the existing fleet of power plants, this study also considers siting of future power plants to avoid regions of limited water availability.
  • New York City Energy-Water Integrated Planning: A Pilot Study: The first task was to identify energy-water issues of importance to New York City. This exercise was followed by discussion of the qualities and capabilities that an ideal decision support tool should display to address these issues. The decision was made to start with an existing energy model, the New York City version of the MARKAL model, developed originally at BNL and now used globally by many groups for energy analysis. MARKAL has the virtue of being well-vetted, transparent, and capable of calculating material flows, such as water use by the energy system and energy requirements of water technology.
  • Risk Assessment of Climate Systems for National Security: Climate change, through drought, flooding, storms, heat waves, and melting Arctic ice, affects the production and flow of resources within and among geographical regions. The interactions among governments, populations, and sectors of the economy require integrated assessment based on risk, through uncertainty quantification (UQ). This project evaluated the capabilities with Sandia National Laboratories to perform such integrated analyses, as they relate to (inter)national security. The combining of the UQ results from climate models with hydrological and economic/infrastructure impact modeling appears to offer the best capability for national security risk assessments.
  • Synthesis and Assessment Product (SAP) 4.5: Effects of Climate Change on Energy Production and Use in the United States: This report summarizes what is currently known about effects of climate change on energy production and use in the United States.The report concludes that, based on what is known now [2008], there are reasons to pay close attention to possible climate change impacts on energy production and use and to consider ways to adapt to possible adverse impacts and take advantage of possible positive impacts.
  • U.S. Climate Change Science Program Synthesis and Assessment Product 4.7, Impacts of Climate Change and Variability on Transportation Systems and Infrastructure: Gulf Coast Study, Phase I: A case study approach was selected for this research as an approach that would generate useful information for local and regional decision makers, while helping to develop research methodologies for application in other locations. In defining the study area, the DOT sought to design a project that would increase the knowledge base regarding the risks and sensitivities of all modes of transportation infrastructure to climate variability and change, the significance of these risks, and the range of adaptation strategies that can be considered to ensure a robust and reliable transportation network. The availability of reliable data, interest of local agencies and stakeholders, and transferability of findings were also important criteria in selecting the study area. This study focuses on those climate factors which are relevant to the Gulf Coast; in other areas different aspects of climate change may be significant. The modeled climate projections and the specific implications of these scenarios for transportation facilities are specific to the Gulf Coast study area. However, the methods presented in this report can be applied to any region.
  • U.S. Energy Sector Vulnerabilities to Climate Change and Extreme Weather: Report containing information on climate (temperature, precipitation, humidity, etc.) coupled with data on U.S. energy system infrastructures, including the locations of fossil and renewable energy sources, energy conversion facilities, and transmission and distribution pathways.
  • Use of Non-Traditional Water for Power Plant Applications: An Overview of DOE/NETL R&D Efforts: This report focuses on the research that has been done to date for the Non-Traditional Sources of Process and Cooling Water component. Studies in this research area focus on identifying potential new water sources, including brackish and saline water supplies and various domestic and industrial wastewaters. In particular, these studies focus on understanding the location, volumes, and quality of different non-traditional waters, as well as treatment technologies to reduce the scaling, biofouling, and corrosion potential of available impaired waters that would not otherwise be useful in a cooling water system or other processes within a thermoelectric plant.
  • Water Implications of Biofuels Production in the United States: National interests in greater energy independence, concurrent with favorable market forces, have driven increased production of corn-based ethanol in the United States and research into the next generation of biofuels. The trend is changing the national agricultural landscape and has raised concerns about potential impacts on the nation’s water resources. To help illuminate these issues, the National Research Council held a colloquium on July 12, 2007 in Washington, DC. Water Implications of Biofuels Production in the United States, based in part on discussions at the colloquium, concludes that if projected future increases in use of corn for ethanol production do occur, the increase in harm to water quality could be considerable from the increases in fertilizer use, pesticide use, and soil erosion associated with growing crops such as corn. Water supply problems could also develop, both from the water needed to grow biofuels crops and water used at ethanol processing plants, especially in regions where water supplies are already overdrawn. The production of “cellulosic ethanol,” derived from fibrous material such as wheat straw, native grasses, and forest trimmings is expected to have less water quality impact but cannot yet be produced on a commerical scale. To move toward a goal of reducing water impacts of biofuels, a policy bridge will likely be needed to encourage growth of new technologies, best agricultural practies, and the development of traditional and cellulosic crops that require less water and fertilizer and are optimized for fuel production.
  • Water Resources Sector Technical Input Interim Report In Support of the U.S. Global Change Research Program 2014 National Climate AssessmentThis report is an assessment of recent, relevant information on the effects of climate change on freshwater resources. The body of scientific literature on climate change and water resources is vast and growing. The focus of this report is primarily on information that is well-documented, peer-reviewed, and useful to assess impacts of climate change on freshwater resources, including key vulnerabilities, and the development of adaptation and mitigation strategies. The report is organized by six key issues: (1) Precipitation patterns and intensity; (2) Surface water, including streamflow, snowmelt, and floods; (3) Groundwater, including soil moisture; (4) Water Quality; (5) Water Resources Management Implications, and (6) Adaptation. Information presented herein primarily is based on (1) observations and (2) projections of change.
  • Water Vulnerabilities for Existing Coal-Fired Power Plants: This study identified coal-fired power plants that are considered vulnerable to water demand and supply issues by using a geographical information system (GIS) that facilitated the analysis of plant-specific data for more than 500 plants in the NETL’s Coal Power Plant Database (CPPDB) (NETL 2007a) simultaneously with 18 indicators of water demand and supply. Two types of demand indicators were evaluated. The first type consisted of geographical areas where specific conditions can generate demand vulnerabilities. These conditions include high projected future water consumption by thermoelectric power plants, high projected future water consumption by all users, high rates of water withdrawal per square mile (mi2), high projected population increases, and areas projected to be in a water crisis or conflict by 2025. The second type of demand indicator was plant specific. These indicators were developed for each plant and include annual water consumption and withdrawal rates and intensities, net annual power generation, and carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions. The supply indictors, which are also area based, include areas with low precipitation, high temperatures, low streamflow, and drought.
  • Climate and Energy-Water-Land System Interactions: This report provides a framework to characterize and understand the important elements of climate and energy-water-land (EWL) system interactions. It identifies many of the important issues, discusses our understanding of those issues, and identifies the research needs to address the priority scientific challenges and gaps in our understanding. Much of the discussion is organized around two discrete case studies with the broad themes of (1) extreme events and (2) regional differences. These case studies help demonstrate unique ways in which energy-water-land interactions can occur and be influenced by climate. In addition, a series of œillustrations portray representative decision-making considerations relevant to climate-EWL interfaces.

Energy Resilience

  • Global Change Assessment Model (GCAM): GCAM is a dynamic-recursive model with technology-rich representations of the economy, energy sector, land use and water linked to a climate model of intermediate complexity that can be used to explore climate change mitigation policies including carbon taxes, carbon trading, regulations and accelerated deployment of energy technology. Regional population and labor productivity growth assumptions drive the energy and land-use systems employing numerous technology options to produce, transform, and provide energy services as well as to produce agriculture and forest products, and to determine land use and land cover. Using a run period extending from 1990-2095 at 5 year intervals, GCAM has been used to explore the potential role of emerging energy supply technologies and the greenhouse gas consequences of specific policy measures or energy technology adoption including; CO2 capture and storage, bioenergy, hydrogen systems, nuclear energy, renewable energy technology, and energy use technology in buildings, industry and the transportation sectors. GCAM is an Representative Concentration Pathway (RCP)-class model. This means it can be used to simulate scenarios, policies, and emission targets from various sources including the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). Output includes projections of future energy supply and demand and the resulting greenhouse gas emissions, radiative forcing and climate effects of 16 greenhouse gases, aerosols and short-lived species at 0.5×0.5 degree resolution, contingent on assumptions about future population, economy, technology, and climate mitigation policy.
  • Standard Unified Modeling, Mapping & Integration Toolkit: SUMMIT is a modeling & simulation software environment that enables analysts, emergency planners, responders, and decision makers to seamlessly access integrated suites of modeling tools & data sources for planning, exercise, or operational response. SUMMIT is being used in small and large-scale exercises to accelerate scenario planning, provide scientifically-grounded scenario data, and enhance the realism and common operating picture.
  • Climate Change: Energy Infrastructure Risks and Adaptation Efforts: The report contains reviews of climate change assessments; analysis of relevant studies and agency documents; and interviews of federal agency officials and industry stakeholders, including energy companies at four sites that have implemented adaptive measures.
  • Comparing the Impacts of Northeast Hurricanes on Energy Infrastructure: This report compares two major hurricanes that hit the Northeastern United States in 2011 and 2012 and their impacts on energy infrastructure.
  • Comparing the Impacts of the 2005 and 2008 Hurricanes on U.S. Energy Infrastructure: This report compares the impact of the major hurricanes of 2005 and 2008 on U.S. energy systems, including those that produce, process and transport oil, natural gas, and electricity. The magnitude and duration of hurricane-induced production and supply disruptions are compared, as well as the extent of damage to energy infrastructure. The effect of disruptions on energy prices and supply is analyzed. The report describes the actions taken by DOE and other Federal agencies to assist the energy industry in restoration.
  • Crisis Response and Disaster Resilience 2030: Based on the outputs of a robust and collaborative futures-planning process, this report provides a framework for understanding how the operating environment for emergency management is apt to change in the coming decades.
  • Department of Homeland Security Climate Change Adaptation Roadmap: Based on the Secretary’s guidance, the initial focus areas of the Roadmap include Departmental cross-cutting adaptation activities, resilient critical infrastructure and key resources, resilience to disasters, and the Arctic. The 42 actions identified in the CCA Roadmap are the result of deliberate study and analysis by select DHS headquarters elements and operational Components. As with all homeland security activities, these actions seek to ensure security, resilience, and customs and exchange with the world across all core mission areas.
  • Effect of Sea Level Rise on Energy Infrastructure in Four Major Metropolitan Areas :  The study overlays information about potential Sea Level Risk (SLR) exposure to energy infrastructure locations around 4 major US cities, using Geographic Information Systems (GIS) tools. To assess possible exposure to SLR, the study uses recent government data and modeling results, including: i) Global SLR scenarios that are based on alternative assumptions about the effects of climate change on sea levels, from the Third National Climate Assessment (NCA); ii) Analyses of the geographic extent of inundation from higher sea levels, from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) Coastal Services Center (CSC); and iii) Locations of energy assets identified by the OE as part of ongoing studies of energy infrastructure.
  • Effects of Climate Change on Federal Hydropower: This report contains data from a new, nationwide study of the observed and projected impacts of global climate change on federal hydropower generation using climate modeling as well as hydrological and hydro power generation data.
  • Estimating Risk to California Energy Infrastructure from Projected Climate Change: This report outlines the results of a study of the impact of climate change on the energy infrastructure of California and the San Francisco Bay region, including impacts on power plant generation; transmission line and substation capacity during heat spells; wildfires near transmission lines; sea level encroachment upon power plants, substations, and natural gas facilities; and peak electrical demand.
  • Federal Efforts Under Way to Assess Water Infrastructure Vulnerabilities and Address Adaptation Challenges: This report examines (1) actions taken by the Corps and Reclamation since 2009 to assess and respond to the potential effects of climate change on water infrastructure and (2) challenges, if any, faced by the Corps and Reclamation in assessing and responding to the potential effects of climate change on water infrastructure, and the steps the agencies are taking to address them. GAO analyzed the agencies’ climate change adaptation guidance and planning documents and interviewed agency officials and other key stakeholders, including water users, environmental groups, and researchers.
  • Hardening and Resiliency: U.S. Energy Industry Response to Recent Hurricane Seasons: This report focuses on the measures that refiners, petroleum product pipeline operators, and electric utilities in the Gulf Coast have taken to harden their assets and make energy supply to the Southeast more resilient.
  • Impact of Drought on U.S. Steam Electric Power Plant Cooling Water Intakes and Related Water Resource Management Issues: For this study, the sources of cooling water used by the U.S. steam electric power plant fleet were examined. This effort entailed development of a database of power plants and cooling water intake locations and depths for those plants that use surface water as a source of cooling water. Development of the database and its general characteristics are described in Chapter 2 of this report. Examination of the database gives an indication of how low water levels can drop before cooling water intakes cease to function. Water level drops are evaluated against a number of different power plant characteristics, such as the nature of the water source (river vs. lake or reservoir) and type of plant (nuclear vs. fossil fuel).
  • Impact of Future Climate Variability on ERCOT Thermoelectric Power Generation: This report summarizes a study to determine the medium-term (through the year 2030) impacts of future climate and drought scenarios on electricity generation by the Electric Reliability Council of Texas (ERCOT). Because water in reservoirs is used to cool many steam cycle-based power plants, significantly low water levels can reduce the ability to cool power plants. This reduced cooling ability can come from physical supply limitations or environmental constraints (power plant effluent temperatures exceeding permitted limits). The approach projects future climate and water demands to determine stream flows, water storage in reservoirs, and power plant effluent temperatures. The results for historical and future water availability, demand, its cost, reservoir storage, and stream flow are reported for U.S. Geological Survey 8-digit hydrologic unit code (HUC8) water basins. The water and climate data are compared to power plant characteristics and past performance data to infer the likelihood that future summer power generation could be curtailed at a power plant. Beyond impacts on the existing fleet of power plants, this study also considers siting of future power plants to avoid regions of limited water availability.
  • New York City Energy-Water Integrated Planning: A Pilot Study: The first task was to identify energy-water issues of importance to New York City. This exercise was followed by discussion of the qualities and capabilities that an ideal decision support tool should display to address these issues. The decision was made to start with an existing energy model, the New York City version of the MARKAL model, developed originally at BNL and now used globally by many groups for energy analysis. MARKAL has the virtue of being well-vetted, transparent, and capable of calculating material flows, such as water use by the energy system and energy requirements of water technology.
  • Risk Assessment of Climate Systems for National Security: Climate change, through drought, flooding, storms, heat waves, and melting Arctic ice, affects the production and flow of resources within and among geographical regions. The interactions among governments, populations, and sectors of the economy require integrated assessment based on risk, through uncertainty quantification (UQ). This project evaluated the capabilities with Sandia National Laboratories to perform such integrated analyses, as they relate to (inter)national security. The combining of the UQ results from climate models with hydrological and economic/infrastructure impact modeling appears to offer the best capability for national security risk assessments.
  • Synthesis and Assessment Product (SAP) 4.5: Effects of Climate Change on Energy Production and Use in the United States: This report summarizes what is currently known about effects of climate change on energy production and use in the United States.The report concludes that, based on what is known now [2008], there are reasons to pay close attention to possible climate change impacts on energy production and use and to consider ways to adapt to possible adverse impacts and take advantage of possible positive impacts.
  • The Energy Water Nexus: Challenges and Opportunities: The report frames the integrated challenge and opportunity space around the water-energy nexus for DOE and its partners. It further explains and strengthens the logical structure underpinning DOE’s long-standing technology and modeling research and development (R&D) efforts, and lays the foundation for future efforts. The report identifies six strategic pillars that will serve as the foundation for coordinating R&D.
  • U.S. Climate Change Science Program Synthesis and Assessment Product 4.7, Impacts of Climate Change and Variability on Transportation Systems and Infrastructure: Gulf Coast Study, Phase I: A case study approach was selected for this research as an approach that would generate useful information for local and regional decision makers, while helping to develop research methodologies for application in other locations. In defining the study area, the DOT sought to design a project that would increase the knowledge base regarding the risks and sensitivities of all modes of transportation infrastructure to climate variability and change, the significance of these risks, and the range of adaptation strategies that can be considered to ensure a robust and reliable transportation network. The availability of reliable data, interest of local agencies and stakeholders, and transferability of findings were also important criteria in selecting the study area. This study focuses on those climate factors which are relevant to the Gulf Coast; in other areas different aspects of climate change may be significant. The modeled climate projections and the specific implications of these scenarios for transportation facilities are specific to the Gulf Coast study area. However, the methods presented in this report can be applied to any region.
  • U.S. Energy Sector Vulnerabilities to Climate Change and Extreme Weather: Report containing information on climate (temperature, precipitation, humidity, etc.) coupled with data on U.S. energy system infrastructures, including the locations of fossil and renewable energy sources, energy conversion facilities, and transmission and distribution pathways.
  • Use of Non-Traditional Water for Power Plant Applications: An Overview of DOE/NETL R&D Efforts: This report focuses on the research that has been done to date for the Non-Traditional Sources of Process and Cooling Water component. Studies in this research area focus on identifying potential new water sources, including brackish and saline water supplies and various domestic and industrial wastewaters. In particular, these studies focus on understanding the location, volumes, and quality of different non-traditional waters, as well as treatment technologies to reduce the scaling, biofouling, and corrosion potential of available impaired waters that would not otherwise be useful in a cooling water system or other processes within a thermoelectric plant.
  • Water Vulnerabilities for Existing Coal-Fired Power Plants: This study identified coal-fired power plants that are considered vulnerable to water demand and supply issues by using a geographical information system (GIS) that facilitated the analysis of plant-specific data for more than 500 plants in the NETL’s Coal Power Plant Database (CPPDB) (NETL 2007a) simultaneously with 18 indicators of water demand and supply. Two types of demand indicators were evaluated. The first type consisted of geographical areas where specific conditions can generate demand vulnerabilities. These conditions include high projected future water consumption by thermoelectric power plants, high projected future water consumption by all users, high rates of water withdrawal per square mile (mi2), high projected population increases, and areas projected to be in a water crisis or conflict by 2025. The second type of demand indicator was plant specific. These indicators were developed for each plant and include annual water consumption and withdrawal rates and intensities, net annual power generation, and carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions. The supply indictors, which are also area based, include areas with low precipitation, high temperatures, low streamflow, and drought.
  • Climate and Energy-Water-Land System Interactions: This report provides a framework to characterize and understand the important elements of climate and energy-water-land (EWL) system interactions. It identifies many of the important issues, discusses our understanding of those issues, and identifies the research needs to address the priority scientific challenges and gaps in our understanding. Much of the discussion is organized around two discrete case studies with the broad themes of (1) extreme events and (2) regional differences. These case studies help demonstrate unique ways in which energy-water-land interactions can occur and be influenced by climate. In addition, a series of œillustrations portray representative decision-making considerations relevant to climate-EWL interfaces.