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Thirsty Energy South Africa

Client: World Bank

Period: February 2014 – April 2015

Lead modeller: Fadiel Ahjum

Project manager: Adrian Stone

Project team: Fadiel Ahjum, Bruno Merven, Adrian Stone
Water Modelling Consultants: James Cullis & Nick Walker (Aurecon)
External Consultant: Gary Goldstein (DecisionWare Inc. USA)
External Consultant: Pat DeLaquil (Dr. Pat DeLaquil & Associates)

Problem statement: The interdependency between water and energy is growing in importance as demands for both water and energy increase.  Several regions of the world are already experiencing water and energy security challenges, which adversely affect sustainable economic growth. In addition, the world’s population is expected to grow, which will in turn increase demand for water and energy, especially in fast-growing developing countries.

Collaborations: South Africa is a pilot for similar projects in Morocco and China

Objectives: The project aims to represent the evolving cost of water to the technologies represented in an energy system’s planning model, ERC’s SATIM model, by representing the planned augmentation schemes for key water supply regions to 2050 and their projected costs and capacities. This will thus be a water-smart energy planning model (SATIM-W) which is hoped will give powerful insights into infrastructure decisions when combined with climate scenarios.

Methodology: The case study will build on an existing TIMES energy system optimization model (SATIM), which will be complemented with existing results from the South African water resources yield model to obtain marginal water supply costs relevant to new energy sector investments in particular water management areas.

The proposed modeling system will require treatment of risk and uncertainty. Resource cost and availability are typically defined by supply-cost curves, which are inputs to the model, and uncertainty in the cost or availability of specific resources is traditionally handled through scenario or sensitivity analyses which show how much the model results change when these parameters are changed. A core part of the project will be sensitivity analysis of how differing degrees of water scarcity, as measured by different potential supply costs, affect energy sector investment choices.

Outputs: Water-smart SATIM model, Research report, International Energy Workshop conference paper, Journal article