The Electric Power Research Institute (EPRI) released a study that assesses the physical and geographic capacities to site nuclear, advanced coal and solar plants throughout the United States.
The study shows potential electric generation capacity of 158 gigawatts (GW) for new advanced coal (with projections for sites in Montana, Illinois, Missouri, Arkansas, Texas, Louisiana, Tennessee, Alabama and Georgia); 60 GW and 18 GW for dry-cooled and water-cooled concentrated solar power, respectively (with projections for sites in California, Idaho, Montana, and Wyoming); and 515 GW for large nuclear reactors and 201 GW for small nuclear reactors (with projections for sites throughout the United States).
The study suggests very large capacity for compressed-air energy storage with plant siting opportunities in 38 percent of the contiguous United States, primarily in the middle regions of the country.
The EPRI-funded study was conducted by the Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL). The lab developed the Oak Ridge Siting Analysis for Power Generation Expansion model to support power generation siting evaluations. The siting tool uses geographic information systems (GIS) data sources to identify appropriate sites for electricity generation technologies.
The study initially examined nuclear power generation but was expanded to other power generation technologies, including advanced coal with carbon capture and storage, concentrated solar power and compressed-air energy storage.
“We think the greatest value from this report and from future use of ORNL’s model will be in support of long-term strategic planning at the national level as it relates to national energy security, environmental protection and prudent use of natural resources, particularly water,” said Francisco de la Chesnaye, EPRI’s Energy and Environment Analysis program manager. “It will also provide critical input to regional generating capacity needs as a function of population growth and electricity demand and reliability.”