Combined cycle power plants fueled with natural gas have been increasingly preferred by regulatory agencies for new power generation projects, compared with traditional coal-fired plants. With growing concerns about water resource availability and the environmental impact of wet cooling systems, there has been an increasing trend for new combined cycle projects to incorporate dry cooling, often as a mandate for regulatory approval of the project. There appears to be little consideration given to the impact of less efficient dry cooling systems on unit efficiency, and particularly on increased fuel requirements and therefore carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions for a given power generating output. The trade-off between reduction of water use and increased fuel requirements with dry cooling should be included as part of the decision on the selection of cooling systems for new fossil plant construction.

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