The Policy & Practice of Climate Change & Water

Modeling the Water-Energy Nexus: How Do Water Constraints Affect Energy Planning in South Africa?

A new publication on the water-energy nexus has come out of the World Bank's Thirsty Energy Initiative, whose goal is to ensure sustainable development of water and energy resources. This research focuses on incorporating a representation of water supply and infrastructure costs into an energy systems model (SATIM-W) to better reflect the interdependent nature of the energy-water nexus in South Africa and the water supply challenges facing the energy system. The results of this investigation demonstrate the process and type of tools that can be employed to examine the energy-water nexus in a national level planning context, and the insights that can be gained from water-smart energy planning.

A number of relevant policy scenarios in South Africa were explored, and the results show that specific energy sector policies can have significant implication for both new investment in water supply infrastructure and in some cases can lead to stranded energy and water investments, reinforcing the importance of planning these sectors through a nexus approach. This case study is the first time the cost of water supply has been assessed in a sector wide energy supply expansion plan. By documenting the methodology, the authors aim to help energy sector planners and modelers properly incorporate water constraints in their work.

You can find the publication online, available for free to view or download.

World Bank Group. 2017. Modeling the Water-Energy Nexus : How Do Water Constraints Affect Energy Planning in South Africa? World Bank, Washington, DC. © World Bank. License: CC BY 3.0 IGO.
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