Sunday, February 26, 2017
An Important Reason to Use More Solar and Wind Power - Dwindling Water Supplies for Cooling
Wartsila, one of the world's most important generation system manufacturing companies, points out a huge problem facing conventional generation systems around the world - dwindling water supplies for cooling. This is especially important in the case of nuclear power and in coal fired thermal powerplants. While locating powerplants on the coast in order to use sea water for cooling would help to some extent, the problem would be in investments, maintenance and more in supplying the electricity generated deep inland in different parts of the world. The problem becomes worse in capital-short countries like India that have huge problems with power. The solution, then, is to use localized sources of energy that do not require water for cooling, which means wind and solar power. Wind energy is not cheap, and it may not be practical everywhere. In regions that receive more than 4 hours of sunlight for 325+ days a year, current solar PV prices are certain to help. There would also be a need for smart grids to integrate the solar / wind power with whatever baseload source is used, but that is something that could be addressed when the wind / solar generating systems are being installed. PS I do know that water use could be reduced by using sodium or other coolants, but have to wonder about the added complexity and costs involved.