"Climate Change Threatens Power Output, Study Says"

"As the climate gets warmer, so do the rivers and lakes that power plants draw their cooling water from. And that is going to make it harder to generate electricity in decades to come, researchers report."

"In an article in the journal Nature Climate Change, scientists measured temperatures now and projected what they would be at midcentury. The temperatures vary according to the time of year, and, even if the extremes remain similar, they will be more frequent -- meaning that the water will be too warm to allow full power production, they predict.

All power plants that burn coal or split uranium, and most of the plants that burn natural gas, turn the resulting heat into steam, which spins a turbine that turns a generator to make power. Then the steam has to be converted back to water before being reheated. If the river or lake water used to condense the steam is getting warmer, the amount it can condense is reduced, leading to a decline in power output."

Matthew L. Wald reports for the New York Times June 4, 2012.


"Warmer Average Temperatures May Reduce Summer Output of Power Plants -- Study" (ClimateWire)

"Nuclear, Coal Power Face Climate Change Risk: Study" (Reuters)

Source: NY Times, 06/05/2012