Staff Publications

Staff Publications

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    'Staff publications' is the digital repository of Wageningen University & Research

    'Staff publications' contains references to publications authored by Wageningen University staff from 1976 onward.

    Publications authored by the staff of the Research Institutes are available from 1995 onwards.

    Full text documents are added when available. The database is updated daily and currently holds about 240,000 items, of which 72,000 in open access.

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Record number 429926
Title Vulnerability of US and European electricity supply to climate change
Author(s) Vliet, M.T.H. van; Yearsley, J.R.; Ludwig, F.; Kabat, P.
Source Nature Climate Change 2 (2012). - ISSN 1758-678X - p. 676 - 681.
Department(s) Earth System Science
Publication type Refereed Article in a scientific journal
Publication year 2012
Keyword(s) global water-resources - power
Abstract In the United States and Europe, at present 91% and 78% (ref. 1) of the total electricity is produced by thermoelectric (nuclear and fossil-fuelled) power plants, which directly depend on the availability and temperature of water resources for cooling. During recent warm, dry summers several thermoelectric power plants in Europe and the southeastern United States were forced to reduce production owing to cooling-water scarcity2, 3, 4. Here we show that thermoelectric power in Europe and the United States is vulnerable to climate change owing to the combined impacts of lower summer river flows and higher river water temperatures. Using a physically based hydrological and water temperature modelling framework in combination with an electricity production model, we show a summer average decrease in capacity of power plants of 6.3–19% in Europe and 4.4–16% in the United States depending on cooling system type and climate scenario for 2031–2060. In addition, probabilities of extreme (>90%) reductions in thermoelectric power production will on average increase by a factor of three. Considering the increase in future electricity demand, there is a strong need for improved climate adaptation strategies in the thermoelectric power sector to assure futureenergy security
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