Publication Details

Title : Developing a Tool to Estimate Water Use in Electric Power Generation in the United States
Publication Date : December 22, 2010
Revision Date : July 29, 2011
Authors : M. Wu, M. Peng
Abstract : A spreadsheet-based tool has been developed to characterize water use in electricity generation from nonrenewable and renewable sources for the 50 states in the United States. The tool is built upon a data inventory that analyzes water requirements by fuel source, generation technology, and cooling system. A total of 13 fuel sources and their 19 subcategories and eight electricity generation technologies are included in the inventory. It also incorporates four types of cooling systems: for each type, water withdrawal and consumption factors were determined. The data inventory and the tool cover the 50 states in the nation which enable users to generate scenarios at national level and for individual state. As such, the tool allows decision makers to perform quick estimates of water consumption in electricity generation. It enables the projection of future water use in electricity generation from various fuel sources at state and national levels. Further analysis can be conducted to examine how changes in fuel source mix and cooling system mix impact water use. Decision makers can use the tool to compare options among fuel sources and technologies from the perspective of impacts to water use (i.e., withdrawal and consumption), to evaluate the conservation of water resources associated with renewable sources, and to address environmental sustainability issues in renewable energy development

1.94 MB