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Title: Water demand for electricity in deep decarbonisation scenarios: a multi-model assessment

Abstract

This study assesses the effects of deep electricity decarbonisation and shifts in the choice of power plant cooling technologies on global electricity water demand, using a suite of five integrated assessment models. We find that electricity sector decarbonisation results in co-benefits for water resources primarily due to the phase-out of water-intensive coal-based thermoelectric power generation, although these co-benefits vary substantially across decarbonisation scenarios. Wind and solar photovoltaic power represent a win-win option for both climate and water resources, but further expansion of nuclear or fossil- and biomass-fuelled power plants with carbon capture and storage may result in increased pressures on the water environment. Further to these results, the paper provides insights on the most crucial factors of uncertainty with regards to future estimates of water demand. These estimates varied substantially across models in scenarios where the effects of decarbonisation on the electricity mix were less clear-cut. Future thermal and water efficiency improvements of power generation technologies and demand-side energy efficiency improvements were also identified to be important factors of uncertainty. We conclude that in order to ensure positive effects of decarbonisation on water resources, climate policy should be combined with technology-specific energy and/or water policies.

Authors:
ORCiD logo; ; ; ; ; ; ;
Publication Date:
Research Org.:
Pacific Northwest National Lab. (PNNL), Richland, WA (United States)
Sponsoring Org.:
USDOE
OSTI Identifier:
1455287
Report Number(s):
PNNL-SA-135282
Journal ID: ISSN 0165-0009; KP1703030
DOE Contract Number:  
AC05-76RL01830
Resource Type:
Journal Article
Journal Name:
Climatic Change
Additional Journal Information:
Journal Volume: 147; Journal Issue: 1-2; Journal ID: ISSN 0165-0009
Publisher:
Springer
Country of Publication:
United States
Language:
English
Subject:
CLIMATE-CHANGE MITIGATION; INTEGRATED ASSESSMENT MODELS; POWER-GENERATION; NUCLEAR-POWER; ENERGY; TECHNOLOGY; SYSTEM; FOOTPRINT; BIOENERGY; PATHWAYS

Citation Formats

Mouratiadou, I., Bevione, M., Bijl, D. L., Drouet, L., Hejazi, M., Mima, S., Pehl, M., and Luderer, G. Water demand for electricity in deep decarbonisation scenarios: a multi-model assessment. United States: N. p., 2017. Web. doi:10.1007/s10584-017-2117-7.
Mouratiadou, I., Bevione, M., Bijl, D. L., Drouet, L., Hejazi, M., Mima, S., Pehl, M., & Luderer, G. Water demand for electricity in deep decarbonisation scenarios: a multi-model assessment. United States. doi:10.1007/s10584-017-2117-7.
Mouratiadou, I., Bevione, M., Bijl, D. L., Drouet, L., Hejazi, M., Mima, S., Pehl, M., and Luderer, G. Thu . "Water demand for electricity in deep decarbonisation scenarios: a multi-model assessment". United States. doi:10.1007/s10584-017-2117-7.
@article{osti_1455287,
title = {Water demand for electricity in deep decarbonisation scenarios: a multi-model assessment},
author = {Mouratiadou, I. and Bevione, M. and Bijl, D. L. and Drouet, L. and Hejazi, M. and Mima, S. and Pehl, M. and Luderer, G.},
abstractNote = {This study assesses the effects of deep electricity decarbonisation and shifts in the choice of power plant cooling technologies on global electricity water demand, using a suite of five integrated assessment models. We find that electricity sector decarbonisation results in co-benefits for water resources primarily due to the phase-out of water-intensive coal-based thermoelectric power generation, although these co-benefits vary substantially across decarbonisation scenarios. Wind and solar photovoltaic power represent a win-win option for both climate and water resources, but further expansion of nuclear or fossil- and biomass-fuelled power plants with carbon capture and storage may result in increased pressures on the water environment. Further to these results, the paper provides insights on the most crucial factors of uncertainty with regards to future estimates of water demand. These estimates varied substantially across models in scenarios where the effects of decarbonisation on the electricity mix were less clear-cut. Future thermal and water efficiency improvements of power generation technologies and demand-side energy efficiency improvements were also identified to be important factors of uncertainty. We conclude that in order to ensure positive effects of decarbonisation on water resources, climate policy should be combined with technology-specific energy and/or water policies.},
doi = {10.1007/s10584-017-2117-7},
journal = {Climatic Change},
issn = {0165-0009},
number = 1-2,
volume = 147,
place = {United States},
year = {2017},
month = {11}
}

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