2 Responses

  1. david walters July 3, 2012 at 11:19 am |

    I think the authors are using a little smoke-and-mirrors here with a dash of semantics thrown in. To wit:

    They don’t really define “usage” or what that means. When a bottled water company uses water (and only the best, cleanest and pure water at that) it’s *removed* from the ecosystem for human consumption and only returned through perspiration and urine. When a thermal power plant uses water it’s almost all returned to the source from which it comes, *directly*, with only slightly higher thermal raise, usually, on average, about 10 F.

    The only real issue here is this thermal rise, which in most places, is strictly regulated. Some of this can be mitigated by using cooling towers though these use a small double digit amount of the cooling water for evaporation. Or, as is the case with *most* combined cycle gas turbines, they use air – cooled condensers. In fact, and here the authors are factually wrong, the great expansion of thermal electric generation in the US does NOT use once-through or cooling tower condenser cooling, they use these air-cooled condensers. In fact EVERY combined cycle gas turbine uses these condensers.

    As coal, conventional and nuclear (the latter, until now) haven’t even been built, there is actually no ‘increase’ in power plant usage of existing water supplies. As only the 2 nuclear plants in S. Carolina and Georgia have started construction, clearly this essays is aimed at these plants and no other. Plants that are build or located on the oceans of course have none of this “stress” except in very locally confined areas.

    1. Gregory Meyerson July 3, 2012 at 12:45 pm |

      http://bravenewclimate.com/2009/11/20/tcase6/

      The above article is useful as a response to this misleading article. you can’t run a real world economy (one that meets human needs) on wind and solar. if we want a reliable source of power, and lots of wind and solar and no nuclear, this means natural gas, which contaminates fresh water sources. or biofuels, which use more water than any source by far. nuclear can recycle much of its water or use ocean water or air cooling.

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