Water: An Important Opportunity For Energy Savings

Via The American Council For An Energy-Efficient Economy (ACEEE), some interesting statistics on the watergy nexus as it relates to water supply and wastewater treatment systems.  As the report notes:

“…Municipal water supply and wastewater treatment (W&WW) systems are among the most energy-intensive facilities owned and are operated by local governments, accounting for about 35% of energy used by municipalities. Water and wastewater treatment and distribution in the United States is estimated to consume 50,000 GWh, representing 1.4 percent of the total national electricity consumption, and cost over $4 billion annually. However, according to EPA’s ENERGY STAR® program, 10 percent savings can readily be achieved in this area.

Water and energy are interconnected in two important ways:

Water is a very electricity-intensive resource.  Electricity is required to source, treat, and transport potable water and to collect, transport, treat and discharge wastewater. Water and wastewater can account for more than half of many municipalities’ electricity bills (Elliott 2005).  As a result, water efficiency—using less water to meet consumers needs—can represent an important electric efficiency opportunity.
Water is a critical resource required for most electric power generation, both as feedwater for boilers and as cooling water for condensers for steam systems, whether fueled by coal, natural gas, or nuclear fuel. Thus, water requirements for electricity generation compete with other uses for and users of the resource.

From an energy efficiency perspective, water represents an important opportunity for energy savings. These savings can come from using less water—water efficiency—and from using less energy in water and wastewater systems.  Achieving these savings will require increasing the awareness of this water-energy nexus and building bridges between the energy efficiency and water communities to spark innovations, research and development, leading to increased energy efficiency and decreased treatment costs and infrastructure and capacity building expenditures.  An acknowledgement of this linkage is becoming evident in water-constrained states such as California, but interest is also growing more broadly from New York to the Southeast and to the intermountain regions. ACEEE supports this water-energy opportunity by conducting research to quantify the opportunities, studying and evaluating programs that promote water efficiency and energy efficiency in water and wastewater treatment, and policies that encourage greater efficiency in water.”

This entry was posted on Saturday, December 18th, 2010 at 7:06 pm and is filed under Uncategorized.  You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed.  You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site. 

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About This Blog And Its Author
As the scarcity of water and energy continues to grow, the linkage between these two critical resources will become more defined and even more acute in the months ahead.  This blog is committed to analyzing and referencing articles, reports, and interviews that can help unlock the nascent, complex and expanding linkages between water and energy -- The Watergy Nexus -- and will endeavor to provide a central clearinghouse for insightful articles and comments for all to consider.

Educated at Yale University (Bachelor of Arts - History) and Harvard (Master in Public Policy - International Development), Monty Simus has held a lifelong interest in environmental and conservation issues, primarily as they relate to freshwater scarcity, renewable energy, and national park policy.  Working from a water-scarce base in Las Vegas with his wife and son, he is the founder of Water Politics, an organization dedicated to the identification and analysis of geopolitical water issues arising from the world’s growing and vast water deficits, and is also a co-founder of SmartMarkets, an eco-preneurial venture that applies web 2.0 technology and online social networking innovations to motivate energy & water conservation.  He previously worked for an independent power producer in Central Asia; co-authored an article appearing in the Summer 2010 issue of the Tulane Environmental Law Journal, titled: “The Water Ethic: The Inexorable Birth Of A Certain Alienable Right”; and authored an article appearing in the inaugural issue of Johns Hopkins University's Global Water Magazine in July 2010 titled: “H2Own: The Water Ethic and an Equitable Market for the Exchange of Individual Water Efficiency Credits.”