When It's Too Hot To Generate Electricity


Due to the combination of drought lowering flows in the Catawba River and the added heat of midsummer, coal fired power plants that rely on Catawba water withdrawals for cooling are being forced to shut down or limit operations due to discharge permit limits on daily average temperature. But, we don't want to kill the bass now do we?

"On Friday, a new problem arose when Duke had to curtail power generation at two coal-powered plants on the Catawba River, Duke spokeswoman Paige Sheehan said. The river's water temperature is too high to use for cooling. Low lake levels already had cut the hydro generation that Duke usually taps at peak times. Duke uses river water to cool its coal-powered steam operations. That heats the water, which then is discharged back into the waterway. But when the water is too hot to begin with, the state won't allow Duke to add to the heat, because the resulting temperature would be too hot for wildlife and cause other environmental concerns."

'Now, who would ever have expected climate change to cause problems like this?'

Via::The Charlotte Observer, and Knight Ridder Tribune Business News. Image credit::Hilton Pond Nature Center, Catawba River