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The River’s Light: Water Needs for Thermoelectric Power Generation in the Ebro River Basin, 1969–2015

1
Economics Department, Public University of Navarre, 31006 Pamplona, Spain
2
Institute for Advanced Research in Business and Economics (INARBE), 31006 Pamplona, Spain
Water 2019, 11(3), 441; https://doi.org/10.3390/w11030441
Received: 19 December 2018 / Revised: 21 February 2019 / Accepted: 22 February 2019 / Published: 28 February 2019
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Energy and Water Nexus)
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Abstract

Water is essential for almost all energy processes. This paper analyses the evolution of the cooling water needs of thermal power plants in the Ebro River basin, the largest contributor to the Spanish electricity grid, over the period 1969–2015. It makes several contributions. First, the cooling water needs for the plants are estimated. Second, these water requirements are compared to other water-using activities in the region. Third, a long-term water-use efficiency analysis is carried out. Finally, water-saving measures are proposed to counter possible future water scarcities. The results show that thermoelectric water consumption per capita is around 7 m3/year. Estimated future thermal power generation water withdrawals (around 500 m3 per capita/year) might compromise flows for other water uses in periods of drought. View Full-Text
Keywords: thermoelectricity; water consumption; water withdrawals; cooling technologies; Ebro River thermoelectricity; water consumption; water withdrawals; cooling technologies; Ebro River
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This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited (CC BY 4.0).

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Sesma-Martín, D. The River’s Light: Water Needs for Thermoelectric Power Generation in the Ebro River Basin, 1969–2015. Water 2019, 11, 441.

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