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Earth

Submission + - Global warming may increase the cost of electrical production (nature.com)

hrvatska writes: An article in the journal Nature Climate Change, details the results of an analysis on the effect that lower summer river flows and higher river water temperatures would have on thermoelectric power plants, which includes nuclear and fossil fuel plants. Many of these plants depend on an adequate supply of river water below a specific temperature to operate at full capacity. During recent warm, dry summers in 2003, 2006 and 2009 several thermoelectric power plants in Europe were forced to reduce production, because of restricted availability of cooling water. The limited supply of electricity in combination with increased production costs lead to significant rises in electricity prices. In the US a similar event in 2007–2008 caused several power plants to reduce production, or shut down for several days owing to a lack of surface water for cooling and environmental restrictions on thermal discharges. The authors of the article conclude that climate change will impact thermoelectric power production in Europe and the US through a combination of increased water temperatures and reduced river flow, especially during summer. In particular, thermoelectric power plants in southern and southeastern Europe, and the southeastern US will be affected by climate change.

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