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Modeling Climate-Water Impacts on Electricity Sector Capacity Expansion

[+] Author Affiliations
Stuart M. Cohen, Jordan Macknick

National Renewable Energy Laboratory, Golden, CO

Kristen Averyt, James Meldrum

University of Colorado Boulder, Boulder, CO

Paper No. POWER2014-32188, pp. V002T10A007; 10 pages
doi:10.1115/POWER2014-32188
From:
  • ASME 2014 Power Conference
  • Volume 2: Simple and Combined Cycles; Advanced Energy Systems and Renewables (Wind, Solar and Geothermal); Energy Water Nexus; Thermal Hydraulics and CFD; Nuclear Plant Design, Licensing and Construction; Performance Testing and Performance Test Codes; Student Paper Competition
  • Baltimore, Maryland, USA, July 28–31, 2014
  • Conference Sponsors: Power Division
  • ISBN: 978-0-7918-4609-4
  • Copyright © 2014 by ASME

abstract

Climate change has the potential to exacerbate water availability concerns for thermal power plant cooling, which is responsible for 41% of U.S. water withdrawals. This analysis describes an initial link between climate, water, and electricity systems using the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) Regional Energy Deployment System (ReEDS) electricity system capacity expansion model. Average surface water projections from Coupled Model Intercomparison Project 3 (CMIP3) data are applied to surface water rights available to new generating capacity in ReEDS, and electric sector growth is compared with and without climate-influenced water rights. The mean climate projection has only a small impact on national or regional capacity growth and water use because most regions have sufficient unappropriated or previously retired water rights to offset climate impacts. Climate impacts are notable in southwestern states, which experience reduced water rights purchases and a greater share of rights acquired from wastewater and other higher-cost water resources. The electric sector climate impacts demonstrated herein establish a methodology to be later exercised with more extreme climate scenarios and a more rigorous representation of legal and physical water availability.

Copyright © 2014 by ASME
Topics: Modeling , Climate , Water

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