Systems Analysis and Policy Support

Systems Analysis
DOE/NETL possesses strong systems analysis and policy-support capabilities.  Systems analysis in support of the Innovations for Existing Plants Program consists of conducting various energy analyses that provide input to decisions on issues such as national plans and programs, resource use, environmental and energy security policies, technology options for research and development programs, and paths to deployment of energy technology. This work includes technology, benefits, and current situation and trends analyses related to the nexus between water and energy. Systems analyses evaluate "what-if" scenarios related to water needs and usage under a variety of assumed conditions related to energy requirements and environmental regulations, including potential regulation of greenhouse gas emissions. Links to reports generated as a result of these systems analyses are presented in the table below.

Water Specific Reports


Estimating Freshwater Needs to Meet Future Thermoelectric Generation Requirements

Future freshwater withdrawal and consumption from domestic thermoelectric generation sources were estimated for five cases. Carbon capture technologies could increase the water demand, and consumption is expected to increase in all cases.

September 2010


Water Requirements for Fossil-Based Electricity Plants with and without Carbon Capture

A presentation that shows water use for several power generation platforms. Consumption and withdrawal are graphically depicted using Sankey diagrams.

September 2009


Water Requirements for Existing and Emerging Thermoelectric Plant Technologies

Water-related impacts associated with the deployment of advanced power platforms included in the NETL research program.

August 2008


NETL Fossil Energy Issues Note FY07 No. 2: Energy-Water Issues

Future impacts of thermoelectric power generation on our nation's freshwater supplies.

September 2007

FY07 No.2

Power Plant Water Usage and Loss Study

Comparisons of water loss from various fossil fuel power plants configurations.

May 2007


Related Reports


Cost and Performance Baseline for Fossil Energy Plants Volume 1: Bituminous Coal and Natural Gas to Electricity

Cost and performance (including water use) of fossil-fuel fired powered plants with and without carbon dioxide capture and storage.

November 2010


Cost and Performance for Low-Rank Pulverized Coal Oxycombustion Energy Plants

Cost and performance (including water use) of low-rank coal oxycombustion power systems, using a consistent technical and economic approach that reflects current market conditions.

September 2010


Investment Decisions for Baseload Power Plants

Identification of key factors that power companies should consider (including water issues) in managing risks associated with investment decisions in new baseload electric generation capacity.

January 2010


Bituminous Baseline Performance and Cost Interactive Tool Documentation

Documentation for a model that compares plant cost and performance for several technologies.

October 2009


Policy Support

  • Cooling Water Intake Structures
    NETL has looked at several recent Clean Water Act issues. One area of particular focus is the potential impact of cooling water regulations on the existing fleet of power plants. Specifically, NETL has evaluated the impact of retrofitting wet- and/or dry-cooling systems on power plant efficiency using powerful computer process simulation models. Results of the analysis will be used to approximate national energy losses and related environmental impacts.

  • Total Maximum Daily Loads

    The Clean Water Act also requires states to develop total maximum daily load (TMDL) for impaired bodies of water. TMDLs will limit the maximum amount of pollutants a receiving water body can accept. To assess potential compliance options, NETL is evaluating the feasibility of an allowance trading framework for carbon and other pollutants. NETL is working to establish a series of demonstration projects that show how and to what extent reclamation of abandoned mine land improves overall water quality and may offset industrial carbon emissions. The project will provide a holistic look at the reclamation process and include extensive water monitoring.