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[en] Highlights: • Proposing two energy systems by combining refrigeration chillers and power plants. • Model-based comparison of the systems through energy and economic standpoints. • Reducing total annual costs of the base system up to 4.7% by process integration. • Decreasing the water loss in wet cooling towers by up to 18% in the proposed system. • Suggesting a water-fuel economic management strategy based on parametric analysis. - Abstract: Two novel configurations are proposed to replace the conventional Rankine cycle based steam power plants (SPP) with natural draft wet cooling towers (NDWCT) as cooling units. Closed feedwater heater unit of the base SPP-NDWCT system is eliminated in order to combine a vapor compression refrigeration (VCR) and an absorption heat pump (ABHP) with the base SPP-NDWCT system. Both VCR-SPP-NDWCT and ABHP-SPP-NDWCT systems are integrated to decrease the NDWCT load which could result in water losses decrease. In part one of the presented two-part paper, model-based energy and economic analyses are performed to compare systems performance and applicability. The temperature difference at pinch point and temperature difference between the hot and cold sides of the heat exchangers which were used for systems integration in VCR-SPP-NDWCT, and the absorber pressure and temperature in ABHP-SPP-NDWCT system are studied using parametric analysis procedure. A water-fuel management strategy is also introduced for the ABHP-SPP-NDWCT system according to the influence of the absorber pressure changes on system water and fuel consumption. In part 2, environmental and thermoeconomic analyses are performed to complete a comprehensive study on designing steam power plants. The results of part 1 showed that water losses and total annual costs decreased by 1–18% and 0–4.7% for the ABHP-SPP-NDWCT system but increased by 11% and 60% for the VCR-SPP-NDWCT system, respectively.