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Title: Climate-Water Adaptation for Future US Electricity Infrastructure

Abstract

Future climate-water conditions are anticipated to increase electricity demand, reduce transmission capacity, and limit power production. Yet, typical electricity capacity expansion planning does not consider climate-water constraints. We project four alternative U.S. power system configurations using an iterative modeling and data exchange platform that integrates climate-driven hydrological, thermal power plant, and capacity expansion models. Through a comparison with traditional modeling approaches, we show that this novel approach provides greater confidence in electricity capacity projections by incorporating feasibility checks that adjust infrastructure development to reach grid reliability thresholds under climate-water constraints. Initial projections without climate-water impacts on electricity generation show future power systems become less vulnerable, independent of climate-water adaptation, as economic drivers increase renewable and natural gas-based capacity, while water-intensive coal and nuclear plants retire. However, power systems may face reliability challenges without climate-water adaptation, revealing the significance of incorporating climate-water impacts into power system planning. Climate-adjusted (Iterative approach) projections require a 5.3-12.0% increase in national-level capacity, relative to Initial projections, leading to an additional $125-143 billion (5.0-7.0%) in infrastructure costs. Variable renewable and natural gas technologies account for nearly all the additional capacity and, together with regional trade-offs in electricity generation, enhance grid performance to reach reliability thresholds. Thesemore » adaptation transitions also lower water use and emissions, contributing to climate change mitigation, and highlight the trade-offs and impacts of both near and long-term electricity generation planning decisions.« less

Authors:
 [1];  [1]; ORCiD logo [1];  [2];  [2];  [1];  [3];  [1];  [2]
  1. National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL), Golden, CO (United States)
  2. City Univ. of New York (CUNY), NY (United States)
  3. Sandia National Lab. (SNL-NM), Albuquerque, NM (United States)
Publication Date:
Research Org.:
National Renewable Energy Lab. (NREL), Golden, CO (United States)
Sponsoring Org.:
City Univ. of New York (CUNY), NY (United States); National Science Foundation (NSF)
OSTI Identifier:
1576487
Report Number(s):
NREL/JA-6A20-72029
Journal ID: ISSN; 0013-936X
Grant/Contract Number:  
AC36-08GO28308
Resource Type:
Accepted Manuscript
Journal Name:
Environmental Science and Technology
Additional Journal Information:
Journal Volume: 53; Journal Issue: 23
Publisher:
American Chemical Society (ACS)
Country of Publication:
United States
Language:
English
Subject:
24 POWER TRANSMISSION AND DISTRIBUTION; 29 ENERGY PLANNING, POLICY, AND ECONOMY; electricity; water; climate; integrated modeling; projection; capacity expansion

Citation Formats

Miara, Ariel, Cohen, Stuart M, Macknick, Jordan E, Vorosmarty, Charles J., Corsi, Fabio, Sun, Yinong, Tidwell, Vincent C., Newmark, Robin L, and Fekete, Balasz M. Climate-Water Adaptation for Future US Electricity Infrastructure. United States: N. p., 2019. Web. doi:10.1021/acs.est.9b03037.
Miara, Ariel, Cohen, Stuart M, Macknick, Jordan E, Vorosmarty, Charles J., Corsi, Fabio, Sun, Yinong, Tidwell, Vincent C., Newmark, Robin L, & Fekete, Balasz M. Climate-Water Adaptation for Future US Electricity Infrastructure. United States. doi:10.1021/acs.est.9b03037.
Miara, Ariel, Cohen, Stuart M, Macknick, Jordan E, Vorosmarty, Charles J., Corsi, Fabio, Sun, Yinong, Tidwell, Vincent C., Newmark, Robin L, and Fekete, Balasz M. Wed . "Climate-Water Adaptation for Future US Electricity Infrastructure". United States. doi:10.1021/acs.est.9b03037.
@article{osti_1576487,
title = {Climate-Water Adaptation for Future US Electricity Infrastructure},
author = {Miara, Ariel and Cohen, Stuart M and Macknick, Jordan E and Vorosmarty, Charles J. and Corsi, Fabio and Sun, Yinong and Tidwell, Vincent C. and Newmark, Robin L and Fekete, Balasz M.},
abstractNote = {Future climate-water conditions are anticipated to increase electricity demand, reduce transmission capacity, and limit power production. Yet, typical electricity capacity expansion planning does not consider climate-water constraints. We project four alternative U.S. power system configurations using an iterative modeling and data exchange platform that integrates climate-driven hydrological, thermal power plant, and capacity expansion models. Through a comparison with traditional modeling approaches, we show that this novel approach provides greater confidence in electricity capacity projections by incorporating feasibility checks that adjust infrastructure development to reach grid reliability thresholds under climate-water constraints. Initial projections without climate-water impacts on electricity generation show future power systems become less vulnerable, independent of climate-water adaptation, as economic drivers increase renewable and natural gas-based capacity, while water-intensive coal and nuclear plants retire. However, power systems may face reliability challenges without climate-water adaptation, revealing the significance of incorporating climate-water impacts into power system planning. Climate-adjusted (Iterative approach) projections require a 5.3-12.0% increase in national-level capacity, relative to Initial projections, leading to an additional $125-143 billion (5.0-7.0%) in infrastructure costs. Variable renewable and natural gas technologies account for nearly all the additional capacity and, together with regional trade-offs in electricity generation, enhance grid performance to reach reliability thresholds. These adaptation transitions also lower water use and emissions, contributing to climate change mitigation, and highlight the trade-offs and impacts of both near and long-term electricity generation planning decisions.},
doi = {10.1021/acs.est.9b03037},
journal = {Environmental Science and Technology},
number = 23,
volume = 53,
place = {United States},
year = {2019},
month = {11}
}

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This content will become publicly available on November 20, 2020
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