Incomplete Integration: Water, Drought, and Electricity Planning in the West

48 Pages Posted: 19 Nov 2016 Last revised: 7 Jan 2017

See all articles by Lincoln L. Davies

Lincoln L. Davies

Ohio State University (OSU) - Michael E. Moritz College of Law

Victoria Luman

University of Utah - S.J. Quinney College of Law

Date Written: November 15, 2016

Abstract

The water-energy nexus is increasingly important as climate change alters social, policy, and economic tradeoffs and choices. This is particularly true in the arid western United States. This article provides an original empirical assessment of 33 integrated resource plans (IRPs) of electric utilities in that region. The analysis shows that only a minority of utilities address the risk of drought in their IRPs. Even fewer use their IRPs to develop concrete plans to address drought risk. Consequently, we suggest four different strategies for utilities to better integrate water and electricity planning. Importantly, our analysis reveals that legal and policy changes may best encourage such improved planning integration. In developing these conclusions, the article also (1) overviews different cooling technologies used for electricity generation facilities, (2) details cooling technology and water use for utilities in the West, and (3) provides and analyzes original data on whether utility IRPs assess different water- and non-water related risks.

Keywords: Integrated resource planning (IRP), water, drought, electric utilities, water-energy nexus

JEL Classification: Q40, Q42, Q47, Q48, Q49, L95, Q25, L94, L97, N72, K32

Suggested Citation

Davies, Lincoln L. and Luman, Victoria, Incomplete Integration: Water, Drought, and Electricity Planning in the West (November 15, 2016). Journal of Environmental Law & Litigation, Vol. 31, pp. 167-214, 2016; University of Utah College of Law Research Paper No. 193. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2869581

Lincoln L. Davies (Contact Author)

Ohio State University (OSU) - Michael E. Moritz College of Law ( email )

55 West 12th Avenue
Columbus, OH 43210
United States

Victoria Luman

University of Utah - S.J. Quinney College of Law ( email )

383 S. University Street
Salt Lake City, UT 84112-0730
United States

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