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Adapting to the 'new normal': SEI helps California cope with drought

October 13, 2015
Purkey, D. , Young, C. , Mehta, V. , Sieber, J.
Even though rain has begun to fall, California's water crisis is far from over. With demand that exceeds the sustainable supply, and climate change leading to hotter and drier weather conditions, water scarcity is almost certainly "the new normal", as Governor Jerry Brown has put it. SEI has worked with water resources managers in California for many years, and as state and local officials seek long-term solutions to the water crisis, they are relying on SEI's Water Evaluation and Planning (WEAP) tool and on the expertise of SEI scientists based in Davis, in the heart of the Central Valley.
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Can Colombia grow hydropower safely and sustainably?

September 22, 2015
Escobar, M. , Wickel, B.
Hydropower is very important for Colombia – in the last decade, it has provided three-quarters of all electricity. With the economy growing by an average of 3.5% per year, the country needs to boost energy production, and there are plans to build several dozen new large and mid-sized hydropower dams. From an energy perspective, the benefits are clear: 26 dams on the Magdalena River Basin, Colombia's largest, already provide about 33,400 GWh of power per year, and two major plants under construction, plus 30 planned projects, would boost hydropower capacity in the basin by more than 160%. But the Magdalena River is not just an energy source: it also feeds a natural treasure, the wetlands of the Mompos Depression.
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Q&A: Avoiding carbon lock-in from energy-using infrastructure

September 18, 2015
Lazarus, M. , Erickson, P. , Kartha, S.
As part of the SEI Initiative on Fossil Fuels and Climate Change, SEI-US senior scientists Peter Erickson, Michael Lazarus and Sivan Kartha have been studying the dynamics of "carbon lock-in" – the tendency for certain carbon-intensive technological systems to persist over time, "locking out" lower-carbon alternatives, due to a combination of linked technical, economic, and institutional factors. In a new journal article, they present a simple approach to assessing the speed, strength, and scale of carbon lock-in for major energy-consuming assets in the power, buildings, industry, and transport sectors.
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From shrinking glaciers, to wetlands and floodplains: WEAP 2015

September 2, 2015
Sieber, J.
Twenty-five years ago, SEI published the first version of its Water Evaluation And Planning (WEAP) system. Year after year, the software kept evolving and expanding, adding new features as SEI helped policy-makers and planners tackle ever more complex challenges. Today, WEAP is used by planners and researchers around the world. And through SEI research and capacity-building projects, WEAP capabilities continue to grow. In August, developer Jack Sieber, deputy director of SEI's U.S. Center, released a major new update of WEAP that brings together multiple enhancements made for recent SEI projects.
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