Using Solar and Wind Energy for Water Treatment in the Southwest

Document Type

Conference Proceeding

Publication Date


Publication Title

World Environmental and Water Resources Congress 2019: Groundwater, Sustainability, Hydro-Climate/Climate Change, and Environmental Engineering


American Society of Civil Engineers

Publisher Location

Pittsburgh, PA



First page number:


Last page number:



Drinking water treatment, integral for ensuring public health is an energy-intensive process. Increasing population and pollution levels compel water sector to incorporate design practices that help achieve sustainability of water operations. Incorporating renewables such as wind and solar energy into a drinking water treatment plant (DWTP) operations can help offset the energy consumption of the treatment process and lead to reduced carbon emissions into the atmosphere. The southwestern U.S. possess tremendous solar and wind resources. The purpose of the current study was to conduct a techno-economic assessment of using solar photovoltaics (PV) and wind energy for a DWTP to reduce its dependence on the traditional thermoelectric power generation. A DWTP, treating 0.34 Mm3day-1 of river water using conventional filtration, located in southwestern U.S. was selected. System advisor model (SAM) was used to conduct the techno-economic assessment of using solar PV and wind energy in standalone and grid-connected mode for the location of Pheonix, Arizona. Results showed that using PV (570 kW capacity, battery storage 76.5 MWh) and wind energy (600 kW) can successfully offset the energy consumption of the selected plant. Available acreage of the plant was found to be sufficient for PV and wind development. Net present value was found to be positive. The methodology used in this study can be applied to other treatment plants in the region, to incorporate renewables and attain energy sufficiency.


Environmental Engineering | Hydraulic Engineering | Oil, Gas, and Energy | Water Resource Management



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