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Title: Vulnerability of US thermoelectric power generation to climate change when incorporating state-level environmental regulations

Abstract

This study explores the interactions between climate and thermoelectric generation in the U.S. by coupling an Earth System Model with a thermoelectric power generation model. We validated model simulations of power production for selected power plants (~44% of existing thermoelectric capacity) against reported values. In addition, we projected future usable capacity for existing power plants under two different climate change scenarios. Results indicate that climate change alone may reduce average thermoelectric generating capacity by 2%-3% by the 2060s. Reductions up to 12% are expected if environmental requirements are enforced without waivers for thermal variation. This study concludes that the impact of climate change on the U.S. thermoelectric power system is less than previous estimates due to an inclusion of a spatially-disaggregated representation of environmental regulations and provisional variances that temporarily relieve power plants from permit requirements. This work highlights the significance of accounting for legal constructs in which the operation of power plants are managed, and underscores the effects of provisional variances in addition to environmental requirements.

Authors:
ORCiD logo; ; ; ;
Publication Date:
Research Org.:
Pacific Northwest National Lab. (PNNL), Richland, WA (United States)
Sponsoring Org.:
USDOE
OSTI Identifier:
1393746
Report Number(s):
PNNL-SA-121326
Journal ID: ISSN 2058-7546; KP1703030
DOE Contract Number:
AC05-76RL01830
Resource Type:
Journal Article
Resource Relation:
Journal Name: Nature Energy; Journal Volume: 2; Journal Issue: 8
Country of Publication:
United States
Language:
English
Subject:
thermoelectric; water-energy nexus; climate change

Citation Formats

Liu, Lu, Hejazi, Mohamad, Li, Hongyi, Forman, Barton, and Zhang, Xiao. Vulnerability of US thermoelectric power generation to climate change when incorporating state-level environmental regulations. United States: N. p., 2017. Web. doi:10.1038/nenergy.2017.109.
Liu, Lu, Hejazi, Mohamad, Li, Hongyi, Forman, Barton, & Zhang, Xiao. Vulnerability of US thermoelectric power generation to climate change when incorporating state-level environmental regulations. United States. doi:10.1038/nenergy.2017.109.
Liu, Lu, Hejazi, Mohamad, Li, Hongyi, Forman, Barton, and Zhang, Xiao. 2017. "Vulnerability of US thermoelectric power generation to climate change when incorporating state-level environmental regulations". United States. doi:10.1038/nenergy.2017.109.
@article{osti_1393746,
title = {Vulnerability of US thermoelectric power generation to climate change when incorporating state-level environmental regulations},
author = {Liu, Lu and Hejazi, Mohamad and Li, Hongyi and Forman, Barton and Zhang, Xiao},
abstractNote = {This study explores the interactions between climate and thermoelectric generation in the U.S. by coupling an Earth System Model with a thermoelectric power generation model. We validated model simulations of power production for selected power plants (~44% of existing thermoelectric capacity) against reported values. In addition, we projected future usable capacity for existing power plants under two different climate change scenarios. Results indicate that climate change alone may reduce average thermoelectric generating capacity by 2%-3% by the 2060s. Reductions up to 12% are expected if environmental requirements are enforced without waivers for thermal variation. This study concludes that the impact of climate change on the U.S. thermoelectric power system is less than previous estimates due to an inclusion of a spatially-disaggregated representation of environmental regulations and provisional variances that temporarily relieve power plants from permit requirements. This work highlights the significance of accounting for legal constructs in which the operation of power plants are managed, and underscores the effects of provisional variances in addition to environmental requirements.},
doi = {10.1038/nenergy.2017.109},
journal = {Nature Energy},
number = 8,
volume = 2,
place = {United States},
year = 2017,
month = 7
}
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