Sandia to conduct regional workshop in Baltimore to help gauge national energy and water concerns

12/08/05

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

The National Nuclear Security Administration's Sandia National Laboratories will conduct a workshop in Baltimore, Md., Dec. 13-14 designed to help gauge the energy- and water-related 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 held in Kansas City and Salt Lake City 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 and 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 second in the series of workshops focuses attention on Eastern states and will be held at the Sheraton Inner Harbor in Baltimore. Participants from energy utilities, energy and water management agencies, energy and water industry associations, environmental groups, and policy and regulatory groups have been invited to attend the workshops. Details and registration information are available at www.sandia.gov/energy-water/eastern.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 with 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generation in the U.S. accounts for almost 40 percent of all fresh water withdrawals, equivalent to the amount of water withdrawn for agriculture.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 scarce we are seeing an increasing number of power plant applications across the country being denied because of a lack of available water resources. "

A major concern is the upward trend for electric power use, he adds. It is projected that electricity use in the U.S. will increase 20 to 30 percent over the next 25 years. That will bring a greater demand for water, which is in limited supply in many regions, including the Southeast, Southwest, and Pacific Coast regions.

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

Sandia 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 regional concerns, fresh water and impact on energy production and generation, and science and cost issues of adhering to regulations and policy issues.

Following the three regional needs assessment workshops and subsequent data and gap analyses, 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 issues.

Sandia is working collaboratively with several organizations to develop the roadmap. These include an executive committee of national water and energy experts representing federal and state agencies and water and energy associations, and an advisory panel of DOE national laboratory representatives.

Source: Eurekalert & others

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