Sandia workshop to help gauge nation's energy and water concerns

11/10/05

Workshop is one of three nationally to gain information for development of energy/water roadmap

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. - The National Nuclear Security Administration's Sandia National Laboratories will conduct a workshop in Kansas City, Mo., Nov. 15-16, designed to help gauge future energy and water concerns of water and electric utilities, environmental organizations, policy and regulatory groups, tribal groups, economic development organizations, government agencies, universities, research institutions, and others.

Information gained at this regional workshop and two others to be held in Baltimore and Salt Lake City over the next couple of months will be used in the development of a national science and technology roadmap looking 25 years into the future to help address major energy- and water-related issues facing the country. The roadmap will help identify both national and regional needs, issues, and gaps in technology, policy, and regulations related to the interdependency of energy and water that can be addressed through improved science and technology initiatives.

This first workshop focuses attention on the central region states and will be held at the Hilton Kansas City Airport. Participants were invited from Texas, Arkansas, Oklahoma, Kansas, Illinois, Indiana, Ohio, Michigan, Missouri, Iowa, Nebraska, Wisconsin, Minnesota, North Dakota, and South Dakota.More information can be obtained at www.sandia.gov/energy-water/central.htm.

"People don't realize that energy and water are interdependent," says Mike Hightower, one of the Sandia researchers leading the roadmap effort. "Much of energy production is done using water, and water pumping and treatment requires a lot of energy. Currently, electric power generation in the U.S. accounts for almost 40 percent of all fresh water withdrawals, equivalent to the amount of water withdrawn for agriculture. While the water consumed by electric power generation is not as great as in agriculture, as fresh water resources become more scarce, we are seeing an increasing number of power plant applications across the country being denied because of a lack of available water resources."

He adds that electricity use in the U.S. is projected to increase 20 to 30 percent over the next 25 years. That will involve a greater demand for water, which is in limited supply in many regions, including the Southeast, Southwest, and the Pacific Coast.

"Water is already tapped out in these areas," Hightower says. "National power demand for the next 25 years is growing at a 30 percent rate, while the Southeast, Southwest, and Pacific Coast are doubling their electric power needs. We are growing fastest in areas with limited water resources. To address the growing shortage of fresh water, we are to turning to ways to use impaired waters, like desalination and wastewater reuse, which are much more energy intensive. This spiral of energy and water relationships is impacting the long-term energy security of the country."

Sandia has received $2 million from the Department of Energy (DOE) to develop the roadmap. It must be completed by the end of fiscal year 2006.

Some of the concerns expected to be discussed and considered at the regional meetings are general lack of fresh water and impact on energy production and generation, cost of adhering to regulations, and policy issues.

Following the three regional needs assessment workshop meetings and subsequent data and gap analysis, a national Energy-Water Technology Innovations and Solutions Workshop will be held next spring to begin to identify and rank potential solutions and identify future science and technology directions, which will become the basis for the final roadmap. The final Energy-Water Roadmap will summarize the identified needs, major gaps, innovative technical approaches and research needs, research and development priorities and strategies, and associated science-based policy evaluations.

Sandia is working collaboratively with several groups in development of the roadmap. These include an executive committee of national water and energy experts representing federal and state agencies and water and energy associations from the country, and an advisory panel of DOE national laboratory representatives.

Sandia is a multiprogram laboratory operated by Sandia Corporation, a Lockheed Martin company, for the U.S. Department of Energy's National Nuclear Security Administration. With main facilities in Albuquerque, N.M., and Livermore, Calif., Sandia has major R&D responsibilities in national security, energy and environmental technologies, and economic competitiveness.

Source: Eurekalert & others

Last reviewed: By John M. Grohol, Psy.D. on 21 Feb 2009
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