Drought is a serious vulnerability for the power sector, witnesses testified at a full committee hearing held last week in the Senate to assess the impacts of drought on the power and water sectors. Members of the panel invited by the Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources offered a number of possible solutions for federal agencies and power companies that could mitigate adverse effects from drought.

Mactech’s Take:
We provide equipment and services into both the power and the water industries and it is interesting to see the effects that a drought would have on both. From Nuclear plants having to shut down due to lack of water, to the need for increased capacity due to a decrease in hydro production.

Water treatment plants may also take a hit if drought conditions prevail. We supply water treatment plant maintenance pipe repair and replacement, flange facing equipment, as well as pipe cutting and end preparation machines.

Read more from the source: powermag.com

Drought affected 60% of the U.S. in 2012, and damages associated with drought last year exceeded $35 billion, said Committee Chair Sen. Ron Wyden (D-Ore.) as he opened the hearing. Water, a critical resource for generating electricity, must be sufficiently available, but also cool enough to allow power plants to run safely and efficiently, he said. “This means that climate change poses a double threat to some of these facilities, potentially threatening both water availability and sufficiently cool intake water.”

Perhaps the nation would best benefit if it better understood which energy plants are susceptible to water shortages in drought-sensitive locations so that agencies could provide options to prevent or mitigate consequences in the short to long-term, Pulwarty said. Other solutions include improved understanding of links between climate and hydrological processes, including aquifer recharge rates and groundwater movement, and a coordination among federal agencies regarding quality and use of climate and weather information at the energy-water interface, he said.