EPRI Study Identifies Power Generation Sites in U.S.

PALO ALTO, Calif. – (February 27, 2012) — The Electric Power Research Institute (EPRI) released a study today that provides an assessment of 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/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 help to identify appropriate sites for different 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.”

The report titled “Application of Spatial Data Modeling and Geographical Information Systems (GIS) for Identification of Potential Siting Options for Various Electrical Generation Sources” is available for download on EPRI’s website. It is also available at www.osti.gov/servlets/purl/1032036/.