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Wednesday, April 11 • 4:30pm - 4:45pm
TRADEOFFS IN ENERGY PRODUCTION: Evaluating Energy Infrastructure Land Use in the Delaware River Basin

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AUTHORS: Caitlin Lucas, Wetland Studies and Solutions; Claire Jantz*, Shippensburg University

ABSTRACT: Due to the growing demand for electricity, energy “sprawl” has become the number one driver of land use change in the United States. As part of a larger study of land use change in the Delaware River Basin (DRB), this study aims to provide baseline estimation of the land area occupied by energy infrastructure and associated right-of-way. Our assessment addressed electric infrastructure, pipelines, transmission lines, wind farms, and commercial solar farms. The calculations from this study relate to the land area currently associated with energy infrastructure, including underground infrastructure. The analysis reveals that the current land occupied by energy infrastructure in the DRB totals 1,121 km2. The highest contributor to the total is the electric transmission infrastructure needed to support energy distribution. There are over 27,000 km of transmission lines alone, which occupy a land area of 885 km2, while natural gas pipelines make up the second highest land area devoted to transmission services (over 9,000 km of pipeline, occupying 128 km2 of land). Renewables, especially solar energy, are rapidly expanding in the region. There is currently 5 km2 of land covered with solar panels in the Basin, while wind infrastructure is negligible (0.08 km2) – most large-scale wind farms in the region are located just outside of the Basin. Within the basin, new transmission lines and gas pipelines, and the rapid expansion of commercial solar energy (still in its nascent phase), make energy infrastructure a primary land use issue in the DRB. As such, this baseline analysis is an important step to support Basin-wide planning.

Wednesday April 11, 2018 4:30pm - 4:45pm CDT
LaSalle 2 (7th Floor)

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