Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Water for Steam Electric Power Generation: Planning or Pie in the Sky?

The Texas Water Plan projections for steam electric power generation (SEPG) provide a stark example of how the planning process often fails to live up to its potential to guide the state to a sustainable water future.     
Our new analysis, available at www.texascenter.org, shows that the regions often ignored reasonable guidance from the TWDB that would have resulted in substantially lower projected SEPG water demand.  Instead, many of the regional planning groups have included unsubstantiated projections for future demand by steam electric plants. 
More troubling, TWDB has failed to push back against these inappropriate projections and failed to adopt rules that would direct the regions to substantiate the SEPG water demand. 
Finally, the process for developing SEPG water demand projections is essentially disconnected from the reality of how many new power plants Texas might actually need or expect over the next 50 years and where those plants should be located from an available water supply perspective.