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Reducing Energy Burden and Flood Damage Using Energy-Water Nexus Approach

Original scientific paper

Journal of Sustainable Development of Energy, Water and Environment Systems
Volume 12, Issue 3, September 2024, 1120497
DOI: https://doi.org/10.13044/j.sdewes.d12.0497
Sequoia Riley1 , Vatsal Bhuva2, Carlos Gamarra2, Marina Badoian-Kriticos2
1 Houston Advanced Research Center, Houston, United States
2 Houston Advanced Research Center, The Woodlands, United States


This paper presents an innovative, original approach to co-design retention ponds and floating photo voltaic solar plants as a water-energy nexus approach to reduce flooding and energy burden for one location. Case-study analysis was conducted in Waimanalo, Hawai’i. A flood model—from a previous study—was used provide a potential location for a retention pond and floating solar photovoltaic panels. This study found the co-design of retention ponds and floating PV solar can not only reduce future stormwater runoff by up to 50% but provide a total of 50% of onsite solar energy at a neighbourhood scale, demonstrating how clean energy and green infrastructure can help advance environmental and social justice. Several takeaways from this study were taken into account and things to consider for a follow-up paper. One of the major challenges was finding a potential suitable location. Overcoming this challenge required using Google Maps and the flood model to pinpoint high flood accumulation and searching for a large green space that is in close vicinity to a developed neighbourhood. 

Keywords: Clean energy, Green infrastructure; Disadvantaged communities; Environmental justice; Flood mitigation; Energy burden; Retention pond; Floating solar

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