Energy Portfolio Assessment Tool (EPAT): Sustainable Energy Planning Using the WEF Nexus Approach - Texas Case Study

Friday, December 15, 2017 - 08:00
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The future energy portfolio at the national and subnational levels should consider its impact on water resources and environment. Although energy resources are the main contributors to the national economic growth, these resources must not exploit other primary natural resources. A study of the connections between energy and natural systems, such as water, environment and land is required prior to proceeding to energy development.

Policy makers are in need of a tool quantifying the interlinkages across energy, water and the environment, while demonstrating the consequent trade-offs across the nexus systems. The Energy Portfolio Assessment Tool (EPAT) is a tool that enables the policy maker to create different energy portfolio scenarios with various energy and electricity sources, and evaluate the scenario’s sustainability environmentally and economically. The Water-Energy-Food nexus systematic approach is the foundation of the EPAT framework.

The research evaluates the impact of the current and projected Texas energy portfolios on water and the environment, taking into consideration energy production, electricity generation and policy change. The three scenarios to be assessed include EIA projections for energy production, and EIA projections for electricity generation with and without the Clean Power Plan (CPP).

Each scenario is accompanied by tradeoffs across water, land, emissions, energy revenue and electricity cost. The CPP succeeds in mitigating the emissions of the electricity portfolio, but leads to an increase in water consumption and land use. The cost of electricity generation is almost identical with and without environmental conservation. Revenue from energy production increased, but results are majorly influenced by commodity price. Therefore, conservation policies should move from the silo to the nexus mentality to avoid unintended consequences as improving one part of the nexus could end up worsening the other parts.

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