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Energy-Water: Missouri River and Its Use as Cooling Water with A Particular Look at Nebraska

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Nebraska is midway between upper and lower stream states on the Missouri river, and the state's thermal power unit cooling and generation would be impacted by lower quantities of water released from the dam at Gavin Point, in an extreme drought and non-navigation year scenario. In accordance with the March 2006 revised Missouri river management manual, minimum-service navigation/lower water release from Gavins Point is triggered during a period of prolonged drought (when the combined reservoir level of the six dams/reservoirs upstream falls short of a threshold for a normal release). During the last drought of nine years (2000-2008), seven (2002 and beyond) were minimum service navigation years. Minimum service navigation or water level insufficient for full navigation does not necessarily mean insufficient water for meeting cooling needs. This study examined the potential impact of a lower water release from Gavins Point Dam to thermal power production in Nebraska and the region under historical conditions and in an extreme drought scenario. Up to now, cooling water has not led to implemented deratings at thermal power production in Nebraska and the region. However, insufficient water for cooling in an extreme drought scenario and a non-navigation year will likely cause not only implemented deratings but also regional energy reliability issues.

Keywords: Cooling; Missouri river; droughts; thermal power plants

Document Type: Research Article


Publication date: January 1, 2011

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  • Proceedings of the Water Environment Federation is an archive of papers published in the proceedings of the annual Water Environment Federation® Technical Exhibition and Conference (WEFTEC® ) and specialty conferences held since the year 2000. These proceedings are not peer reviewed.

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