The Water–Energy Nexus in the American West

The Water–Energy Nexus in the American West

Edited by Douglas S. Kenney and Robert Wilkinson

The nexus between water and energy raises a set of public policy questions that go far beyond water and energy. Economic vitality and management of scarce and precious resources are at stake. This book contributes to the body of knowledge and understanding regarding water, energy, and the links between the two in the American West and beyond.

Chapter 15: Integrated Planning: Transmission, Generation and Water in the Western States

Tom Iseman and Alex Schroeder

Subjects: environment, climate change, energy policy and regulation, environmental geography, environmental law, water, law - academic, environmental law

Extract

Tom Iseman and Alex Schroeder1 15.1. INTRODUCTION Western governors have long identified a clean, diverse and reliable energy supply as a significant regional and national priority. More recently, they have explicitly recognized the need to consider water, land use, and wildlife while planning and developing energy supplies for the West (Western Governors’ Association [WGA], 2010). The Regional Transmission Expansion Project (RTEP) will engage states, electric utilities and other stakeholders in the development of a regional transmission plan to unlock the potential of the West’s vast clean energy resources. As part of that effort, the Western Governors’ Association (WGA) will seek generation and transmission options that are compatible with reliable water supplies and healthy wildlife communities in the West. In its work on energy and electricity, the WGA has identified access to electric transmission lines as a significant – if not the primary – impediment to increasing the use of renewable energy resources. The RTEP is a response to that issue. Since the start of the project in late 2009, the WGA has worked with the Western Electricity Coordinating Council, the US Department of Energy (DOE) and the national laboratories to develop and implement a framework for integrating water supply considerations into electric transmission planning. Support from the national laboratories was put in place in the summer of 2010, and initial technical work began in the fall of 2010. Quantitative and geographically specific analysis of water–energy issues will be complemented by policy development to promote practical solutions to water–energy challenges. The...

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