Regional Integrated Assessment Modeling: Supply, Transmission and Demand in a Rapidly Evolving U.S. Energy System

Monday, May 12, 2014 - 07:00
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The United States is undergoing a transformation in its energy sector driven by rapid technology advances and adoption allowing large scale production of previously uneconomic domestic natural gas resources contained in tight formations. The macro picture is changing with the US becoming a natural gas exporter and also significant changes are underway at the state and the basin level where this domestic natural gas and oil production is taking place. Given the breadth and speed of the changes underway, the goal of this joint research project is to begin to understand how populations will re-locate and will build pipeline infrastructures. To better understand integrated climate impacts on the vulnerability of the natural gas transportation system this rapidly changing dynamic marketplace, a blended PNNL and ORNL team loosely coupled GCAM-USA and Connected Infrastructure Dynamic Models (CIDM) to examine these changes in the nation's natural gas system from the dual forces of climate changing consumption patterns and new technology changing the production locations. This paper shows a case study to illustrate a potential methodology to explore possible future configurations of natural gas infrastructure and forecast emerging vulnerabilities driven by simultaneously by climate drivers and alternative assumptions on domestic natural gas production. The 50 state version of GCAM (GCAM-USA) generated projected natural gas demand by sector for each of the 50-states over the period 2010-2100. These projections were then asymetrically downscaled by ORNL to 30 arc second cells within each state to create a neighborhood scale natural gas demand map. The consumption was allocated to the 10 million neighborhood cells by projecting to 2100 population growth, movements, and migration to the cells and state specific natural gas consumption rates per household and firms. Land use suitability for new pipeline routes was assessed by coupling the demand map to the OR-SAGE siting tool to develop feasible future pipeline routings that support the future natural gas demand topology using the projected population distribution. By overlaying these potential routings with CIDM assessments of the new scenarios, climate implications for the Spectra pipeline system in the Pennsylvania-New York regions were illustrated and use of the coupled demand maps, pipeline siting, and vulnerability models shown as feasible.