GRM 2010 GRM 2011

Abstract Details

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Economics of Nuclear and Solar Desalination for the Middle East
Paper Proposal Text :
Increasing water supply by utilizing desalination technologies is an intrinsic part of the energy-water nexus in the Middle East. In response to the need to move away from fossil fuel, countries across the region have been proposing ambitious plans to invest in nuclear and solar power to deal with the increasing demand for electricity and water. This paper presents a comparative economic analysis of nuclear and solar desalination for the Middle East based on the levelized cost method using parameters and assumptions that are specific to the Middle East. The paper also aims to examine the challenges and incentives of nuclear and solar desalination in the region. The analysis is conducted using the available computational program, IAEA’s Desalination Economic Evaluation Program (DEEP). The program offers its user the capability of changing various parameters that affect the levelized cost of electricity. In this dissertation we are concerned with mainly two economic parameters: power cost ($/kWh) and the desalinated water cost ($/m3). These two parameters are calculated for different desalination technologies: Reverse Osmosis (RO), Multi Effect Distillation (MED), and Multi Stage Flashing (MSF). For each type of technology different parameters are varied to fit the Middle East region. The interest rate is varied from an optimistic 5% to a more conservative 10% with increments of 1%. Also the construction time of the power plant is studied at different durations, ranging from a very optimistic 5 year construction time to a more realistic 10 year with increments of 1 year. This varying of the construction time is repeated twice; once for the case of 5% interest rate and again for 10% interest rate. Moreover, the capital cost of the plant is taken at three different cases: first case is taking the present capital cost values provided by Energy Information Association (EIA), second case is taking the present capital cost minus 25% of it, and the third case is taking the present capital cost plus 25%. Finally, since solar technology is still a developing technology the capacity factor (i.e. the operation availability) is varied from 20% to 25% and finally to 30% to study the effect it has on the levelized cost of electricity and the water cost. Nuclear technology on the other hand being a fully mature technology has a fixed capacity factor of 90%.