Abstract: An extensive literature on climate change modeling points to future changes in wind climates. Some areas are projected to gain wind resources, while others are projected to lose wind resources. Oklahoma is presently wind rich with this resource extensively exploited for power generation. Our work examined the wind power implications under the IPCC’s A2 scenario for the decades 2040–2049, 2050–2059 and 2060–2069 as compared to model reanalysis and Oklahoma Mesonetwork observations for the base decade of 1990–1999. Using two western Oklahoma wind farms as examples, we used North American Regional Climate Change Assessment Program (NARCCAP) modeling outputs to calculate changes in wind power generation. The results show both wind farms to gain in output for all decades as compared to 1990–1999. Yet, the results are uneven by seasons and with some decades exhibiting decreases in the fall. These results are of interest in that it is clear that investors cannot count on wind studies of the present to adequately characterize future productivity. If our results are validated over time, Oklahoma stands to gain wind resources through the next several decades.
Abstract: Due to the finite nature of non-renewable mineral and energy resources such as coal, resource extraction is inherently unsustainable; however, mining and related activities can contribute to sustainable development. Indeed, the principles of corporate social responsibility (CSR) require that mine operators design and conduct their activities in ways that provide for net positive impacts on surrounding communities and environments. In Central Appalachia, there appears to be a particularly ripe opportunity for the coal industry to put CSR to work: participation in sustainable solutions to the long-standing problem of inadequately treated wastewater discharges—which not only represent a potential human health hazard, but also contribute to the relatively high incidence of bacterial impairments in surface waters in the region. In this paper, we outline the underlying factors of this problem and the advantages of industry-aided solutions in a region where limited economic and technical resources are not always aligned with social and environmental needs. We also suggest a framework for problem-solving, which necessarily involves all interested stakeholders, and identify the primary challenges that must be overcome in pursuit of sustainable solutions.
Abstract: In 1938, Texas, New Mexico, and Colorado signed the Rio Grande Compact, establishing terms of apportionment for some of the water from the Rio Grande for the three states. Following congressional approval in 1939, this compact governs water allocation in a region with a variable climate and frequent drought conditions and established the Rio Grande Compact Commission, comprised of a commissioner from each state and one from the federal government, to enforce the compact. With an increasing population and declining surface water supply, the Compact has been tested among the parties and within the states themselves. In a case currently before the U.S. Supreme Court, Texas v. New Mexico and Colorado (2013), Texas claims New Mexico is violating the Compact and Rio Grande Project Act by using water in excess of its apportionment through its allowance of diversions of surface and groundwater. The issue is further compounded by disputes within Texas over separate legal regimes for groundwater and surface water. Combined with growing scarcity issues, the allocation of water in the Lower Rio Grande presents a timely natural resource challenge. This review explores legal issues involved in the case as well as growing challenges of population growth, agricultural development needs, and water shortages.
Abstract: In the coming years the geographical distribution of wind farms in Great Britain is expected to change significantly. Following the development of the “round 3” wind zones (circa 2025), most of the installed capacity will be located in large offshore wind farms. However, the impact of this change in wind-farm distribution on the characteristics of national wind generation is largely unknown. This study uses a 34-year reanalysis dataset (Modern-Era Retrospective Analysis for Research and Applications (MERRA) from National Aeronautics and Space Administration, Global Modeling and Assimilation Office (NASA-GMAO)) to produce a synthetic hourly time series of GB-aggregated wind generation based on: (1) the “current” wind farm distribution; and (2) a “future” wind farm distribution scenario. The derived data are used to estimate a climatology of extreme wind power events in Great Britain for each wind farm distribution. The impact of the changing wind farm distribution on the wind-power statistics is significant. The annual mean capacity factor increased from 32.7% for the current wind farm distribution to 39.7% for the future distribution. In addition, there are fewer periods of prolonged low generation and more periods of prolonged high generation. Finally, the frequency and magnitude of ramping in the nationally aggregated capacity factor remains largely unchanged. However, due to the increased capacity of the future distribution, in terms of power output, the magnitude of the ramping increases by a factor of 5.
Abstract: Resilience assessments are increasingly used to inform management decisions and development interventions across sub-Saharan Africa (SSA). In light of current and future climate change and variability, there is growing interest in applying such tools and frameworks to assess and strengthen the climate resilience of smallholder farming systems. However, these assessments are often undertaken without explicit consideration of the resilience thinking in which they are grounded. This makes it difficult to understand how the conceptual aspects of resilience are translating into resilience assessment practice. This paper provides an important first step in tackling this gap, by identifying and using key characteristics of resilience thinking to evaluate existing resilience assessment tools and frameworks and drawing insights for assessing the climate resilience of smallholder farming systems. We find that power, politics, and agency, identified as important in the resilience literature, are not fully incorporated within current tools and frameworks. This leads to inadequate consideration of spatial and temporal trade-offs. We propose six recommendations for assessing the climate resilience of smallholder farming systems in SSA in order to enhance the linkages between resilience theory and practice. These are: (1) better integrate vulnerability and resilience; (2) recognize that resilience does not equal development or poverty reduction; (3) recognize the benefits and limitations of adopting flexible, participatory approaches; (4) integrate issues of power into assessment tools; (5) target specific systems; and (6) encourage knowledge sharing, empirical studies, and critical evaluation. Our findings contribute to improved understanding of applications of resilience thinking to enhance natural resource management.
Abstract: The aim of this paper is to examine if the surplus of wind energy could be added to electricity-to-heat conversion systems when there is increased congestion in the grid or when there is wind power curtailment. In this way, the produced power can be utilized for contributing to the local district heating (DH) system needs. After examining scenarios, optimized energy distribution is recommended. A case study near Kozani, Greece with an onshore wind farm (WF) to be installed was thoroughly investigated exploring the options for increased wind energy integration analyzing thermal utilization possibilities based on the local DH needs. A wind resource assessment for the area was done, which optimizes the WF planning and links the DH system with the operation of the WF. The utilization rate between the electric and the DH grid was examined in order to describe the optimal way of the energy to be distributed reassuring profitability for the power producer and robust energy management for the system. It was found that the curtailed wind energy can be locally utilized in a DH system, by covering part of the demand that the diesel-based peak load boiler system does currently.