U.S. Department of Energy

Pacific Northwest National Laboratory

Energy-Water Dynamics (EWD) Thrust Area

Energy and water systems are increasingly interconnected and exposed to a range of stresses, as described in a recent DOE report. Modeling these systems is extremely challenging due to the complex, multi-scale nature of their interactions with each other as well as with other human and natural systems.

In this research thrust area, we are employing a variety of watershed- and regional-scale models to study the impacts of heat waves, droughts, and other extreme events and long-term stresses on energy and water systems. We will also explore and assess potential options that would enhance resilience in the context of different scenarios of future population, land use, and climate.

We are focusing initially on two domains:

Watershed-scale experiments leverage the VIC, RiverWare, and PLEXOS models to simulate time-evolving streamflow and power production in the San Juan River Basin (a tributary of the Colorado River). These physical and engineered system models are also being coupled to agent-based modeling to simulate water and land use decision-making.


Schematic of water demands in the San Juan River Basin

Regional-scale experiments will enhance and integrate the GCAM, CERF, ReEDS, BEND, PLEXOS, CLM/ALM, and MOSART-WM models to study the vulnerability and evolution of the Western electric grid. We are also developing an agent-based model that is designed to capture key watershed-scale behavioral dynamics and represent them at regional scale.

Grid balancing authorities (colors) and major hydrologic regions (blue lines) in the Western United States

Thrust Area Lead: Jordan MacKnick
Watershed-scale Lead: Vince Tidwell
Regional-scale Lead: Nathalie Voisin

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