Chapter 2
The Context of Thermal Power Plant Water Usage


Today there exists an array of options for technologies to generate electrical power (see Figure 1-3). Each technology has its own characteristics and depends upon unique supply chains to manufacture the necessary capital equipment and/or provide the fuel for the prime mover. Just over the last decade the United States, as well as much of the rest of the world, has seen the production and installation of more types of energy resources and technologies than in the previous century: wind turbines, photovoltaic panels, liquid biofuels, and oil and gas from shale formations, etc. These actions, together with more efficient energy consumption, are responses to the depletion of many high-quality energy stock reserves (e.g., onshore conventional oil fields) and concentrated renewable flows (e.g., rivers with high flow rates and elevation changes for hydropower). In many aspects, the reason that people engage in so much discussion, and sometimes confusion, over what type of power generation technology and fuel should be installed is because there are more options today than there were even 40 years ago. Further, there has always been, and there will almost certainly be, uncertainty about the supply and costs of future energy resources.

  • 2.1 Power Plant Cooling as Part of a Larger Whole System
  • 2.2 Environmental Considerations for Power Plant Water Usage
  • 2.3 Balancing Thermoelectric Power Production and Thermal Pollution
  • 2.4 Energy Information Administration Collection and Dissemination of Cooling System Data
  • 2.5 Nomenclature
  • 2.6 References

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