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Geoscientific Model Development An interactive open-access journal of the European Geosciences Union
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Discussion papers
https://doi.org/10.5194/gmd-2019-134
© Author(s) 2019. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.
https://doi.org/10.5194/gmd-2019-134
© Author(s) 2019. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

Submitted as: model description paper 15 Jul 2019

Submitted as: model description paper | 15 Jul 2019

Review status
This discussion paper is a preprint. A revision of the manuscript is under review for the journal Geoscientific Model Development (GMD).

The Nexus Solutions Tool (NEST): An open platform for optimizing multi-scale energy-water-land system transformations

Adriano Vinca1,2, Simon Parkinson1,2, Edward Byers1, Peter Burek1, Zarrar Khan3, Volker Krey1,4, Fabio A. Diuana5,1, Yaoping Wang1, Ansir Ilyas6, Alexandre C. Köberle7,5, Iain Staffell8, Stefan Pfenninger9, Abubakr Muhammad6, Andrew Rowe2, Roberto Schaeffer5, Narasimha D. Rao10,1, Yoshihide Wada1,11, Ned Djilali2, and Keywan Riahi1,12 Adriano Vinca et al.
  • 1International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis, Austria
  • 2Institute for Integrated Energy Systems, University of Victoria, Canada
  • 3Joint Global Change Research Institute, Pacific Northwest National Laboratory, USA
  • 4Dept. of Energy & Process Engineering, Norwegian University of Science and Technology, Norway
  • 5Energy Planning Program, Federal University of Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
  • 6Center for Water Informatics & Technology, Lahore University of Management Sciences, Pakistan
  • 7Grantham Institute, Faculty of Natural Sciences, Imperial College London, UK
  • 8Centre for Environmental Policy, Faculty of Natural Sciences, Imperial College London, UK
  • 9Dept. of Environmental Systems Science, ETH Zurich, Switzerland
  • 10School of Forestry and Environmental Studies, Yale University, USA
  • 11Department of Physical Geography, Faculty of Geosciences, Utrecht University, the Netherlands
  • 12Institute for Thermal Engineering, TU Graz, Austria

Abstract. The energy-water-land nexus represents a critical leverage future policies must draw upon to reduce trade-offs between sustainable development objectives. Yet, existing long-term planning tools do not provide the scope or level of integration across the nexus to unravel important development constraints. Moreover, existing tools and data are not always made openly available or are implemented across disparate modeling platforms that can be difficult to link directly with modern scientific computing tools and databases. In this paper, we present the Nexus Solutions Tool (NEST): a new open modeling platform that integrates multi-scale energy-water-land resource optimization with distributed hydrological modeling. The new approach provides insights into the vulnerability of water, energy and land resources to future socioeconomic and climatic change and how multi-sectoral policies, technological solutions and investments can improve the resilience and sustainability of transformation pathways while avoiding counterproductive interactions among sectors. NEST can be applied at different spatial and temporal resolutions, and is designed specifically to tap into the growing body of open access geospatial data available through national inventories and the earth system modeling community. A case study analysis of the Indus River Basin in South Asia demonstrates the capability of the model to capture important interlinkages across system transformation pathways towards the United Nations' Sustainable Development Goals, including the intersections between local and regional transboundary policies and incremental investment costs from rapidly increasing regional consumption projected over the coming decades.

Adriano Vinca et al.
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