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Sustainable planning of the energy-water-food nexus using decision making tools

Bieber, Niclas, Ker, Jen Ho, Wang, Xiaonan, Triantafyllidis, Charalampos, van Dam, Koen H., Koppelaar, Rembrandt H.E.M., Shah, Nilay
Energy policy 2018 v.113 pp. 584-607
capital, carbon, clean energy, climate change, decision support systems, developing countries, electric power, emissions, energy, environmental impact, food availability, food prices, food production, infrastructure, issues and policy, models, operating costs, opportunity costs, planning, power generation, renewable energy sources, tariffs, urbanization, water supply
Developing countries struggle to implement suitable electric power and water services, failing to match infrastructure with urban expansion. Integrated modelling of urban water and power systems would facilitate the investment and planning processes, but there is a crucial gap to be filled with regards to extending models to incorporate the food supply in developing contexts. In this paper, a holistic methodology and platform to support the resilient and sustainable planning at city region level for multiple sectors was developed for applications in urban energy systems (UES) and the energy-water-food nexus, combining agent-based modelling - to simulate and forecast resource demands on spatial and temporal scales - with resource network optimization, which incorporates capital expenditures, operational costs, environmental impacts and the opportunity cost of food production foregone (OPF). Via a scenario based approach, innovative water supply and energy deployment policies are presented, which address the provision of clean energy for every citizen and demonstrate the potential effects of climate change. The results highlighted the vulnerability of Ghana's power generation infrastructure and the need for diversification. Feed-in tariffs and investment into supporting infrastructure and agriculture intensification will effectively increase the share of renewable energy and reduce carbon emissions.