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

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Bibliographic fields
reftype Journal Article
Abstract 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 be 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.
Author Tidwell, Vincent C.; Michael Bailey; Katie M. Zemlick; Barbara D. Moreland
DOI 10.1088/1748-9326/11/12/124001
ISSN 1748-9326
Issue 12
Journal Environmental Research Letters
Pages 124001
Title Water supply as a constraint on transmission expansion planning in the Western interconnection
Volume 11
Year 2016
Bibliographic identifiers
_record_number 25281
_uuid 384a5db4-d03c-496f-9de5-af594c199715