Think tank: Water needs may limit shale gas, some renewables

A study from the World Policy Institute (WPI), presented recently before the New America Foundation in Washington, D.C., finds that droughts may hamper the development of natural gas from shale (shale gas) and some renewable energy technologies, notably hydropower, biofuels and solar thermal electric generation.

An article in the British newspaper The Guardian, reprinted in SolveClimate News, discusses the WPI report in some detail, but oddly fails to mention that wind power requires virtually no water.  Still, it's in the report, on p. 4: "Wind and solar photovoltaic electricity consume minimal water and are the most water-efficient forms of conventional or alternative electricity production."

Wind therefore appears to be an exception to the report's rather sweeping statement: "Based on existing data, the most startling finding is that (with some notable exceptions) both traditional and existing alternative energy technologies are evolving toward higher water consumption per unit of energy produced."

The report in general aims to raise awareness of the water-energy connection (its title is "The Water-Energy Nexus: Adding Water to the Energy Agenda") and to encourage policy makers to take water into account as they fashion energy policy.

More reading:

Water anxiety? Wind power can help, June 16, 2011
Report sees water as utility investment risk factor, October 27, 2010
Use wind, save water, September 20, 2010
20% Wind Energy by 2030 Summary Presentation (pdf)
The Wind/Water Nexus, U.S. Department of Energy fact sheet, 2006 (pdf)

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