Robin Newmark is an Associate Laboratory Director at the National Renewable Energy Laboratory. Dr. Newmark has led or contributed to programs involving energy, climate and water issues, and the interdependence of water and energy systems. She advises such diverse groups as the multi-national laboratory Energy-Water Nexus consortium and the U.S. – China Expert Carbon Capture and Sequestration (CCS) Steering Committee, was a lead author of the third U.S. National Climate Assessment, is on the editorial board for Current Sustainable/Renewable Energy Reports (Springer) and a guest editor for Environmental Research Letters. An author of over 100 papers, reports and patents, she is a Fellow of both the Renewable and Sustainable Energy Institute at the University of Colorado, and the Center of Integrated Water Research at the University of California at Santa Cruz (UCSC). She received her B.S. from MIT, a M.S. from UCSC, and a Ph.D from Columbia University.
The U.S. and other nations have pledged to reduce GHG emissions to suppress the increase in the earth’s mean surface temperature. The power sector is a primary GHG emissions source and it relies heavily on water resources; technology choices affect outcomes for both. Water availability differs widely; water impacts from the energy sector have regional differences. Climate change has the potential to exacerbate concerns through changes in water availability and air temperatures. This presentation explores the energy-water-land (food) interactions that give rise to natural/engineered system dynamics. Renewables currently make up a small (but growing) fraction of total U.S. electricity generation and are considered a pathway to deep decarbonization. Results of recent scenario studies are shown that explore the potential development of the U.S. electric sector under different technology options, constraints and policies; these provide useful insights about likely changes in technology mix and the associated impacts to water resources. Regional topography, climate and policy frameworks also affect the energy intensity of the different stages of public water supply life-cycles. Technology choices and system operations both respond to and can impact the local ecosystems. Ongoing research and development and areas of additional need are highlighted.