A geographical and temporal analysis of U.S. thermoelectric withdrawals in comparison to renewable water supplies
Thermoelectric power production is the largest source of water withdrawals in the U.S. In this study, multiple regression modeling was used to identify the significant influencing factors of thermoelectric withdrawals and evaluate their impacts. The derived regression model was then used to forecast future freshwater thermoelectric withdrawals for large-scale energy production and USGS hydrologic regions through 2035 under three scenarios of cooling tower installation and once-through cooling system retrofitting. At the national level, freshwater thermoelectric withdrawals are forecast to increase by 10 bgd and 2 bgd in the high and medium scenarios, but decrease by 7 bgd in the low scenario. At the regional level, in addition to arid inland hydrologic regions such as the Colorado, Rio Grande, and Great Basin, more humid hydrologic regions such as the Texas-Gulf will face increasing issues of water availability for thermoelectric cooling with a consequent need to shift to recirculating systems.
Yang, X. and C.L. Lant. 2011. A Geographical and Temporal Analysis of U.S. Thermoelectric Withdrawals in Comparison to Renewable Water Supplies. Applied Geography 31(2011):1154-1165.