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Title: Water supply as a constraint on transmission expansion planning in the Western interconnection

Here, consideration of water supply in transmission expansion planning (TEP) provides a valuable means of managing impacts of thermoelectric generation on limited water resources. Toward this opportunity, thermoelectric water intensity factors and water supply availability (fresh and non-fresh sources) were incorporated into a recent TEP exercise conducted for the electric interconnection in the Western United States. The goal was to inform the placement of new thermoelectric generation so as to minimize issues related to water availability. Although freshwater availability is limited in the West, few instances across five TEP planning scenarios were encountered where water availability impacted the development of new generation. This unexpected result was related to planning decisions that favored the development of low water use generation that was geographically dispersed across the West. These planning decisions were not made because of their favorable influence on thermoelectric water demand; rather, on the basis of assumed future fuel and technology costs, policy drivers and the topology of electricity demand. Results also projected that interconnection-wide thermoelectric water consumption would increase by 31% under the business-as-usual case, while consumption would decrease by 42% under a scenario assuming a low-carbon future. Except in a few instances, new thermoelectric water consumption could bemore » accommodated with less than 10% of the local available water supply; however, limited freshwater supplies and state-level policies could increase use of non-fresh water sources for new thermoelectric generation. Results could have been considerably different if scenarios favoring higher-intensity water use generation technology or potential impacts of climate change had been explored. Conduct of this exercise highlighted the importance of integrating water into all phases of TEP, particularly joint management of decisions that are both directly (e.g., water availability constraint) and indirectly (technology or policy constraints) related to future thermoelectric water demand, as well as, the careful selection of scenarios that adequately bound the potential dimensions of water impact.« less
Authors:
ORCiD logo [1] ;  [2] ;  [3] ;  [1]
  1. Sandia National Lab. (SNL-NM), Albuquerque, NM (United States)
  2. Energy Planning and Analysis, Salt Lake City, UT (United States). Western Electricity Coordinating Council
  3. Univ. of New Mexico, Albuquerque, NM (United States)
Publication Date:
Report Number(s):
SAND-2016-10777J
Journal ID: ISSN 1748-9326; 648598
Grant/Contract Number:
AC04-94AL85000; Contract No. M610000581
Type:
Published Article
Journal Name:
Environmental Research Letters
Additional Journal Information:
Journal Volume: 11; Journal Issue: 12; Journal ID: ISSN 1748-9326
Publisher:
IOP Publishing
Research Org:
Sandia National Lab. (SNL-NM), Albuquerque, NM (United States)
Sponsoring Org:
USDOE Office of Electricity Delivery and Energy Reliability (OE)
Country of Publication:
United States
Language:
English
Subject:
13 HYDRO ENERGY; 54 ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCES; energy-water; water availability; transmission expansion planning; Western U.S.
OSTI Identifier:
1333024
Alternate Identifier(s):
OSTI ID: 1332945; OSTI ID: 1333025