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Title:Managing impacts of hydrological droughts and heat waves on thermal power plants
Author(s):Lubega, William Naggaga
Director of Research:Stillwell, Ashlynn S.
Doctoral Committee Chair(s):Stillwell, Ashlynn S.
Doctoral Committee Member(s):Cai, Ximing; Overbye, Thomas; Work, Dan; Zhu, Hao
Department / Program:Civil & Environmental Eng
Discipline:Civil Engineering
Degree Granting Institution:University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Subject(s):Electricity-Water Nexus, Thermal Power Plants
Abstract:The withdrawal, discharge, and consumption of water, used in thermal power plant cooling processes, is a leading driver of thermal pollution in waterways, and can contribute to water allocation challenges. Conversely, the reliance of thermal generation on large amounts of cooling water at suitable temperatures creates a vulnerability for individual power plants and electricity grids. Recent droughts and heat waves have highlighted the tension between thermal power plants and water resources, stimulating various research efforts. Prior research work has largely focused on long term energy infrastructure choices to ameliorate the identified tensions. This dissertation addresses a gap in the literature by focusing on challenges and solutions pertaining to existing infrastructure. Specifically, three contributions are made. Firstly, a methodology for bridging electricity grid planning and water resource management, during droughts and heat waves, is presented. This methodology is novel in the literature as it takes into consideration power plant characteristics, the electricity grid topology, reliability requirements, and the simultaneity of water constraints across multiple power plants. Secondly, a strategy for hedging thermal power plant cooling water risk with index insurance contracts is evaluated. Results show that linear index insurance contracts can hedge the effect of cooling water temperature on power plant thermodynamics, but cannot mitigate risk due to thermal pollution regulations effectively. Thirdly, the economic efficiency of substitutes for power plant water consumption is considered. Results show that water-saving substitutes are largely not cost-effective for thermal power plants, and cannot be justified by reasonable water prices. Overall, this dissertation leverages knowledge from multiple disciplines, to address policy and private sector challenges associated with thermal power plant water use, as necessitated by the interdisciplinary nature of the problem.
Issue Date:2018-06-18
Rights Information:Copyright 2018, William Lubega
Date Available in IDEALS:2018-09-27
Date Deposited:2018-08

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