Quantification and regional comparison of water use for power generation: A California ISO case study
Analysis of water use for power generation has, in the past, focused on large geographical regions and time scales. Attempting to refine this analysis on the time and spatial scales could help to further understand the complex relationships involved in the energy-water nexus, specifically, the water required to generate power. Water factors for different types of plants and cooling systems are used from literature in combination with power generation data for different balancing authorities to model water use as a function of time based on the fuel mix and power generated for that region. This model is designed to increase public awareness of the interrelation between the energy consumed and water use that can be taken into account when making decisions about electrical energy use. These results confirm that areas with higher renewable energy penetration use less water per unit of power generated than those with little or no renewable technologies in the area, but this effect is heavily dependent on the distribution of the types of renewable and conventional generation used.