How will Future Ways to Produce Energy Impact Water Supply?

The Water Demand of Energy: Implications for Sustainable Energy Policy Development(14 page pdf, Saeed Hadian and Kaveh Madani, Sustainability, Nov. 5, 2013)

Today we review a paper that examines the type of sources needed to meet the 40% increase in global energy demand and what this implies in terms of a 37 to 66% increase in demand for fresh water. While the search for pollution-free cities in this blog  has been on ways of reducing air pollution and usually concludes that non-polluting renewable energy sources are optimum, some of these sources (such as corn and ethanol) have a disproportionate demand for water –  as high as 400 times higher than from conventional fossil energy sources. Some sources, such as solar energy, appear to have few if any negative impacts from energy generation but, if one looks at the water impact from the manufacture of photo-voltaic cells, the overall impact changes. The impact on water from fracking natural gas also needs scrutiny from this aspect. The paper being reviewed is based on a water footprint index made up of a blue, green and grey components, referring to the rainwater or surface water consumed during production or the water used for dilution to maintain water quality standards.

world energy

Shares of energy sources in world’s total energy supply (a) 2012; (b) 2035.

To see Key Quotes and Links to key reports about this post, click HERE


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