Global Warming Endangers Energy Production in the United States and Europe
The energy supplies for the United States and Europe are at risk, thanks to increasing complications attributed to climate change. In an ironic twist of fate, the rising water temperatures and reduced river flow caused by global warming is lowering the energy output of thermoelectric power plants, such as coal-fired power plants, that require constant supplies of water for cooling purposes. In other words, the problem that some of these power plants help create is now impacting their ability to perform.
Climate Change Causing Blackouts
Extreme drops in power generation, blackouts and full or partial shutdowns of thermoelectric power plants are expected to triple over the next 50 years, according to a report in Nature Climate Change.
Reduced flow in rivers and ever increasing water temperatures decrease the cooling capabilities that nuclear and coal-fired power plants have come to rely on. While this study shines a light on the needs for better water conservation methods, it also points out how significant of a weakness thermal cooling is for our existing power grid.
The co-author of the study, Dennis Lettenmaier, a University of Washington professor of civil and environmental engineering, said “this study suggests that our reliance on thermal cooling is something that we’re going to have to revisit.”
In the summer of 2011, the Browns Ferry Nuclear Plant in Alabama had to go offline on more than one occasion because the Tennessee River water was just too hot to provide any cooling capabilities. The study finds this was not an isolated event, in fact the findings predict that energy efficiency or power production in the U.S. will decrease 4 percent to 16 percent and even higher in Europe due to a reduction in cooling water between 2031 and 2060.
Gosh, all this extrapolated to the US and Europe from just one power plant in Tennessee that had to shut down on a hot summer day when the river had lower than usual levels. WUWT previously covered this breathtaking report of the river water temperature “crisis” and shutdown last week.
With facts like that it MUST be real. I’m reminded of this hilarious cartoon circulating the net via waznmentobe.com
I think a bigger threat to power plant shutdowns is environmental excess by the EPA, note there’s more than one power plant being closed, with a nearly 10% energy capacity drop, but somehow, that’s not a crisis to the geniuses at GlobalWarmingIsReal.com.
When the next big heat wave comes, do you think they’ll blame the EPA, or global warming for the blackouts that will surely come when the grid is stretched to capacity?