Construction of hybrid nuclear thermal energy storage systems under electricity market uncertainty
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The objective of this thesis is to simulate the construction of thermal energy storage systems for nuclear power plants in the ERCOT grid. Steam accumulators were selected as the thermal energy storage technology. A thermo-economic model was used to estimate the operating and cost parameters for sixteen different steam accumulator designs. A new capacity expansion model of the ERCOT grid was built on top of an existing production cost model for wholesale electricity market simulations. Sixteen permutations of four scenario pairs were simulated to illustrate the uncertainty of future market conditions. It was optimal to build steam accumulators in three of the permutations. Scenarios common to these per-mutations were high future natural gas prices (three permutations), aggressive capital cost declines for solar PV and wind generators (three), high load growth (two), and a carbon tax (two). This suggests that large-scale thermal energy storage systems may be most successful in future markets under these conditions.