NEWS: Thermoelectric power including gas, coal and nuclear responsible for 40% of US water useClimate change may drive a shift to more wind and solar power generation, to conserve water, a U.S. Department of Energy report said this week. The report found a risky mutual dependence between water and energy. Energy was needed to pump, treat and transport water, while water was needed to cool electricity generating equipment in thermal power plants such as gas, coal, nuclear and concentrated solar power. Such thermoelectric power accounts for 40% of all U.S. freshwater use. Climate change including more storms and droughts would intensify those mutual risks, the report said. “When severe drought affected more than a third of the United States in 2012, limited water availability constrained the operation of some power plants and other energy production activities,” said the report, “The Water-Energy Nexus: Challenges and Opportunities”. “Shifts in precipitation and temperature patterns—including changes in snowmelt—will likely lead to more regional variation in water availability for hydropower, biofeedstock production, thermoelectric generation and other energy needs. Rising temperatures have the potential to increase the demand for electricity for cooling. “These changes and variations pose challenges for energy infrastructure resilience.”
Bert Guevara's insight:
Water-dependent cooling systems of coal, gas and nuclear power plants are now under scrutiny because of water scarcity. The current drought and water stress in many countries of the world is putting into question the sustainability of these conventional power plants. In the Philippines, we are very much dependent on coal and are mulling nuclear power.