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Sandia to conduct regional workshop in Salt Lake City to help gauge nation’s energy and water concerns


Workshop is one of three nationally to gain information for development of energy/water roadmap.

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — The National Nuclear Security Administration’s Sandia National Laboratories will conduct a workshop in Salt Lake City Jan. 10-11 designed to help gauge future energy and water concerns of water and electric utilities, environmental organizations, policy and regulatory groups, tribal groups, economic development organizations, government agencies, universities, research institutions, and others.

Information gained at this regional workshop and two others held earlier in Kansas City and Baltimore will be used in the development of a national science and technology roadmap looking 25 years into the future to help address major water issues in energy development facing the country. The roadmap will help identify both national and regional needs, issues, and gaps in technology, policy, and regulations related to the interdependency of energy and water that can be addressed through improved science and technology initiatives.

This third in the series of workshops focuses attention on western states and will be held at the Hilton Salt Lake City Airport. Participants from energy utilities, energy and water management agencies, energy and water industry associations, environmental groups, and policy and regulatory groups have been invited from throughout the west to attend the workshops. More information and registration materials are available at

“People don’t realize that energy and water are interdependent,” says Mike Hightower, one of the Sandia researchers leading the roadmap effort. “Much of energy production is done with water, and water pumping and treatment requires a lot of energy. Currently, electric power generation in the U.S. accounts for almost 40 percent of all fresh water withdrawals, equivalent to the amount of water withdrawn for agriculture. While the water consumed by electric power generation is not as great as in agriculture, as fresh water resources become scarce, we are seeing an increasing number of power plant proposals across the country being denied because of a lack of available water resources. ”

He adds that a major concern is the upward trend for electric power use. It is projected that electricity use in the U.S. will increase 20 to 30 percent over the next 25 years. That will involve a greater demand for water, which is in limited supply in many regions, including the Southeast, Southwest, and Pacific Coast.

“Water is already tapped out in these areas,” Hightower says. “While the national electric power demand for the next 25 years is growing at a 30 percent rate in general, in the Southeast, Southwest, and Pacific Coast electric power needs will double. We are growing fastest in areas with limited water resources. To address the growing shortage of fresh water, we are to turning to the use of impaired waters, like desalination and wastewater reuse, which are much more energy intensive. This spiral of energy and water relationships is impacting the long-term energy security of the country.”

Sandia received $2 million from the Department of Energy (DOE) to develop the roadmap. It must be completed by the end of fiscal year 2006.

Some of the types of concerns expected to be discussed and considered at the regional meetings are region-specific concerns, fresh water and impact on energy production and generation, and science and cost issues of adhering to regulations and policy issues.

Following the three regional needs assessment workshop meetings and subsequent data and gap analyses, a national Energy-Water Technology Innovations and Solutions Workshop will be held later this spring to begin to identify and rank potential solutions and identify future science and technology directions, which will become the basis for the final roadmap. The final Energy-Water Roadmap will summarize the identified needs, major gaps, innovative technical approaches and research needs, research and development priorities and strategies, and associated science-based policy issues.

Sandia is working collaboratively with several entities in development of the roadmap. These include an executive committee of national water and energy experts representing federal and state agencies and water and energy associations and an advisory panel of DOE national laboratory representatives.

Sandia is a multiprogram laboratory operated by Sandia Corporation, a Lockheed Martin company, for the U.S. Department of Energy’s National Nuclear Security Administration. Sandia has major R&D responsibilities in national security, energy and environmental technologies, and economic competitiveness.


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