Water & Energy: How Do They Mix?

A conversation about water and its critical role in new energy economies

Workshop Information:

Date:  June 14, 2022

Time: 9:00 am – 12:00 pm MT

Location: Held via Webex. A no-cost registration is required to attend.

Register here or contact [email protected] for assistance. 

The Intermountain West Energy Sustainability & Transitions (I-WEST) project is focused on delivering a regionally relevant technology roadmap to transition six U.S. states to a carbon-neutral energy economy. I-WEST encompasses Arizona, Colorado, Montana, New Mexico, Utah, and Wyoming. The project is taking a place-based approach, which prioritizes the geographical attributes, economic landscape, and societal readiness of the region.

Why join this workshop?

Water is a critical enabler for energy production. The energy sector uses 3.5 trillion gallons of freshwater, which is around 10 percent of total U.S. water consumption. New low-carbon technologies will likely change how we use water for energy production, but they will not eliminate our dependence on it. In regions like the Intermountain West, where persistent drought and water scarcity are already impacting communities, environments, and economies, water management is a key factor in energy transition. This workshop is an opportunity for regional stakeholders to join the conversation about the challenges and opportunities water presents for energy transition in the Intermountain West. Discussion topics will include:

  • Current regional water usage for daily consumption, agriculture, and energy production
  • Water needs for various energy technologies and their scale of impact on water usage
  • Projections on likely changes in surface water available as climate evolves
  • Opportunities for water recovery from produced water and CO2 storage
If you are interested in, concerned by, or just curious about how water factors into the energy transition equation for the Intermountain West, then this workshop is for you. Concerned citizens and advocacy groups; farmers and ranchers; tribal, state, city, and county leaders; and project leaders working on water-related initiatives are all encouraged to participate. Input received will inform the I-WEST technology roadmap.

Informative and Interactive

The format of this workshop will be a combination of 1) technical perspectives water for energy production in the I-WEST region; and 2) a facilitated discussion in which participants can ask questions, express concerns, and share ideas. Please submit your water-related questions on the workshop registration webpage to help spur a robust discussion.


9:00 AMWelcome and Opening Remarks

John Sarrao – Los Alamos National Laboratory
Bringing water to the forefront of the conversation on energy transition.

9:05 AM – Introduction to Water and Energy Transition in I-WEST

Jolante Van Wijk – Los Alamos National Laboratory
Overview of I-WEST objectives, approach, and team.

Segment 1: Water Usage Today and Into the Future
9:10 AM – Energy-Water Nexus

Tom Lowry – Sandia National Laboratories
Big-picture look at the interdependencies between water and energy on a national scale.

9:20 AM – Current Water Usage in the Intermountain West

Bruce Thomson – University of New Mexico
Regional water usage today and how it enables energy production.

9:30 AM – Water and Climate Futures in the Intermountain West

Katrina Bennett – Los Alamos National Laboratory
Forecasts of climate in the near future and its impacts on water availability.

9:40 AM – Roundtable discussion with Q&A

Panelists: Tom Lowry, Bruce Thomson, and Katrina Bennett
Moderators: Nicole Jackson and Peter Kobos (Sandia)
All participants join in the discussion

Segment 2: Tour of Low-Carbon Technology Water
9:55 AM – Potential Energy Transition Pathways for the I-WEST

Jolante Van Wijk – Los Alamos National Laboratory
Overview of regionally relevant technologies under evaluation by I-WEST.

Lightning Talks on Water Needs for Transition Pathways

Mary Ewers – Los Alamos National Laboratory
Troy Semelsberger – Los Alamos National Laboratory
Jim Gattiker – Los Alamos National Laboratory
Derek Vikara – National Energy Technology Laboratory
Babetta Marrone – Los Alamos National Laboratory

How is water used in low-carbon technologies and what is the potential for reduced water usage in the future?

  • Low-Carbon Electricity
  • Low-Carbon Hydrogen
  • Carbon Capture
  • Carbon Storage and Utilization
  • Bioenergy
10:30 AM – Roundtable discussion with Q&A

Panelists: Mary Ewers, Troy Semelsberger, Jim Gattiker, Derek Vikara, and Babetta Marrone
Moderators: Jolante Van Wijk and Janie Chermak (UNM)
All participants join the discussion

10:45 AM – Break
Segment 3: Emerging Opportunities in Non-traditional Water
10:50 AM – Opportunities for Non-traditional Water in the Intermountain West

Mike Hightower – New Mexico Produced Water Research Consortium
A look at the nature of and opportunities with produced water.

11:00 AM – Regional Case Study in Non-traditional Water Treatment

John Byrom – PESCO, Inc.
PESCO, Inc. will discuss their water treatment pilot and startup testing in Farmington, NM in partnership with New Mexico Tech and Navajo Technical University.

11:10 AM – Critical Materials: A Secondary Benefit

Scott Hynek – United States Geological Survey
Extracting critical materials for energy transition from produced water.

11:20 AM – Roundtable discussion with Q&A

Panelists: Mike Hightower, John Byrom, and Scott Hynek
Moderators: Tom Lowry and Peter Kobos (Sandia)
All participants join the discussion

11:35 AM – Open Mic

Open to all (Begin with participants who submitted comments at registration)
Jolante Van Wijk
Final comments from workshop participants on the discussion topics, or suggestions for I-WEST events on the topic of water and energy.

11:50 AM – Closing remarks

Melissa Fox/George Guthrie – Los Alamos National Laboratory

12:00 PM – Adjourn


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