(548y) Water Pinch Points in Thermoelectric Power Generation
Sustainable and affordable energy and water resources require understanding regions where water availability is projected to limit current thermoelectric power generation technology. The National Energy Technology Laboratory is carrying out systems analyses to understand water pinch points in thermoelectric power generation in the U.S. The analyses utilize GIS data collected by the United States Geological Survey and results from a Sandia National Laboratory study. Maps have been developed to identify regions where water availability affect thermoelectric power generation technology option (e.g. need for dry or hybrid cooling or different minimum water use concepts). The results are illustrated by projected 2030 estimates in the Southwest. Four watersheds have planned thermoelectric power growth in HUC8 watersheds which are projected to have zero water availability in 2030. Agriculture and thermoelectric power accounted for 76% of freshwater withdrawals in the U.S. in 2015. While agriculture increased water withdrawals 2% from 2010 to 2015, thermoelectric power decreased withdrawals 18%. Locations where water resources are required substantially for both agriculture and thermoelectric power are include California, Colorado, Arkansas, and Mississippi.