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Title: Climate and water resource change impacts and adaptation potential for US power supply

Power plants that require cooling currently (2015) provide 85% of electricity generation in the United States. These facilities need large volumes of water and sufficiently cool temperatures for optimal operations, and projected climate conditions may lower their potential power output and affect reliability. We evaluate the performance of 1,080 thermoelectric plants across the contiguous US under future climates (2035-2064) and their collective performance at 19 North American Electric Reliability Corporation (NERC) sub-regions. Joint consideration of engineering interactions with climate, hydrology and environmental regulations reveals the region-specific performance of energy systems and the need for regional energy security and climate-water adaptation strategies. Despite climate-water constraints on individual plants, the current power supply infrastructure shows potential for adaptation to future climates by capitalizing on the size of regional power systems, grid configuration and improvements in thermal efficiencies. Without placing climate-water impacts on individual plants in a broader power systems context, vulnerability assessments that aim to support adaptation and resilience strategies misgauge the extent to which regional energy systems are vulnerable. As a result, climate-water impacts can lower thermoelectric reserve margins, a measure of systems-level reliability, highlighting the need to integrate climate-water constraints on thermoelectric power supply into energy planning, risk assessments, andmore » system reliability management.« less
Authors:
ORCiD logo [1] ;  [2] ;  [1] ;  [3] ;  [2] ; ORCiD logo [4]
  1. Advanced Science Research Center at the Graduate Center of the City Univ. of New York, New York, NY (United States); The City College of New York, New York, NY (United States)
  2. National Renewable Energy Lab. (NREL), Golden, CO (United States)
  3. Sandia National Lab. (SNL-NM), Albuquerque, NM (United States)
  4. The City College of New York, New York, NY (United States)
Publication Date:
Report Number(s):
NREL/JA-6A20-67678
Journal ID: ISSN 1758-678X
Grant/Contract Number:
AC36-08GO28308
Type:
Accepted Manuscript
Journal Name:
Nature Climate Change
Additional Journal Information:
Journal Volume: 7; Journal Issue: 11; Journal ID: ISSN 1758-678X
Publisher:
Nature Publishing Group
Research Org:
National Renewable Energy Lab. (NREL), Golden, CO (United States)
Sponsoring Org:
National Science Foundation (NSF); USDOE
Country of Publication:
United States
Language:
English
Subject:
29 ENERGY PLANNING, POLICY, AND ECONOMY; climate; energy-water nexus; reliability; resiliency; vulnerability
OSTI Identifier:
1416713

Miara, Ariel, Macknick, Jordan E., Vorosmarty, Charles J., Tidwell, Vincent C., Newmark, Robin L., and Fekete, Balazs. Climate and water resource change impacts and adaptation potential for US power supply. United States: N. p., Web. doi:10.1038/nclimate3417.
Miara, Ariel, Macknick, Jordan E., Vorosmarty, Charles J., Tidwell, Vincent C., Newmark, Robin L., & Fekete, Balazs. Climate and water resource change impacts and adaptation potential for US power supply. United States. doi:10.1038/nclimate3417.
Miara, Ariel, Macknick, Jordan E., Vorosmarty, Charles J., Tidwell, Vincent C., Newmark, Robin L., and Fekete, Balazs. 2017. "Climate and water resource change impacts and adaptation potential for US power supply". United States. doi:10.1038/nclimate3417. https://www.osti.gov/servlets/purl/1416713.
@article{osti_1416713,
title = {Climate and water resource change impacts and adaptation potential for US power supply},
author = {Miara, Ariel and Macknick, Jordan E. and Vorosmarty, Charles J. and Tidwell, Vincent C. and Newmark, Robin L. and Fekete, Balazs},
abstractNote = {Power plants that require cooling currently (2015) provide 85% of electricity generation in the United States. These facilities need large volumes of water and sufficiently cool temperatures for optimal operations, and projected climate conditions may lower their potential power output and affect reliability. We evaluate the performance of 1,080 thermoelectric plants across the contiguous US under future climates (2035-2064) and their collective performance at 19 North American Electric Reliability Corporation (NERC) sub-regions. Joint consideration of engineering interactions with climate, hydrology and environmental regulations reveals the region-specific performance of energy systems and the need for regional energy security and climate-water adaptation strategies. Despite climate-water constraints on individual plants, the current power supply infrastructure shows potential for adaptation to future climates by capitalizing on the size of regional power systems, grid configuration and improvements in thermal efficiencies. Without placing climate-water impacts on individual plants in a broader power systems context, vulnerability assessments that aim to support adaptation and resilience strategies misgauge the extent to which regional energy systems are vulnerable. As a result, climate-water impacts can lower thermoelectric reserve margins, a measure of systems-level reliability, highlighting the need to integrate climate-water constraints on thermoelectric power supply into energy planning, risk assessments, and system reliability management.},
doi = {10.1038/nclimate3417},
journal = {Nature Climate Change},
number = 11,
volume = 7,
place = {United States},
year = {2017},
month = {10}
}