Joint decision-support analysis of water and energy systems

John SaboThe increasing global demand for energy will stress water resources because energy production requires water for refining and cooling processes. Additionally, deployment of new clean-energy technologies must be well established based on the geography and hydroclimate. Arizona State University researchers led by Senior Sustainability Scientist John Sabo, are developing Net-WEST, a data hub and analytics platform, that will engage key decision makers from the water and energy sectors to co-develop systems thinking tools for the planning of energy infrastructure. This project will involve public-private partnerships among national energy laboratories, power authorities, water agencies and utility companies. For clean energy technologies to be successful, it requires the design of more resilient water-conveyance and power-transmission systems that are co-managed in real time, using copious data and modern analytics. Improved data and analytics will transform the planning and design process to develop energy systems that are more robust. Such analytics need to take into account both water and energy to fully assess system risk. The Net-WEST data hub and analytics platform allows the application of network theory to measure water-energy interdependencies and develop more flexible and portable tools for planning and management of clean-energy infrastructure systems. Another key feature is the development of computational sustainability, which includes a software-hardware platform for quantifying operations and investment risks in water-energy systems for use by the utilities sector. Net-WEST also features a decision-support framework based on integrated normative and descriptive research and computational approaches. Finally, the platform allows users to create econometric models to explore the joint relationships of price elasticity for water/energy demand and use across households.