The convergence of increasing populations, decreasing primary resource availability, and uncertain climates have drawn attention to the challenge of shifting the operations of key resource sectors towards a sustainable paradigm. This is prevalent in California, which has set sustainability-oriented policies such as the Renewable Portfolio Standards and Zero-Emission Vehicle mandates. To meet these goals, many options have been identified to potentially carry out these shifts. The electricity sector is focusing on accommodating renewable power generation, the transportation sector on alternative fuel drivetrains and infrastructure, and the water supply sector on conservation, reuse, and unconventional supplies. Historical performance evaluations of these options, however, have not adequately taken into account the impacts on and constraints of co-dependent infrastructures that must accommodate them and their interactions with other simultaneously deployed options. These aspects are critical for optimally choosing options to meet sustainability goals, since the combined system of all resource sectors must satisfy them. Certain operations should not be made sustainable at the expense of rendering others as unsustainable, and certain resource sectors should not meet their individual goals in a way that hinders the ability of the entire system to do so. Therefore, this work develops and utilizes an integrated platform of the electricity, transportation, and water supply sectors to characterize the performance of emerging technology and management options while taking into account their impacts on co-dependent infrastructures and identify synergistic or detrimental interactions between the deployment of different options. This is carried out by first evaluating the performance of each option in the context of individual resource sectors to determine infrastructure impacts, then again in the context of paired resource sectors (electricity-transportation, electricity-water), and finally in the context of the combined tri-sector system. This allows a more robust basis for composing preferred option portfolios to meet sustainability goals and gives a direction for coordinating the paradigm shifts of different resource sectors. Overall, it is determined that taking into account infrastructure constraints and potential operational interactions can significantly change the evaluation of the preferred role that different technologies should fulfill in contributing towards satisfying sustainability goals in the holistic context.

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Published on 01/01/2014

Volume 2014, 2014
Licence: CC BY-NC-SA license

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