China’s Energy Industry Water Use to Double By 2035

Courtesy IndustryTap, a look at China’s engery industry water use:

China's Coal & Water Problem

IndustryTap has covered the world’s looming water shortage problem usually considering its deleterious effects on humans. We have looked at desalination, “mining” icebergs, and more. But water shortages also affect critical infrastructure and systems humans depend on, such as coal plants that require vast amounts of fresh water to operate. Compounding this problem is the uneven distribution of fresh water on the earth’s surface and the somewhat random location of industrial facilities needing water; the routing of water between them becomes complicated as supplies are increasingly taxed.

Sixty percent of China’s power plants, mostly running on coal, are located in northern China while only 20% of its fresh water is found there. As the Chinese government comes to terms with the need to ration its precious supply of fresh water, it has implemented water use constraints by putting a limit on how much can be used, area by area.

The Chinese energy sector, currently uses 102 billion m³ of water per year, and it is estimated that by 2030 that amount could rise to between 124 billion m³ to 190 billion m³. The Chinese energy industry is responding to this “pinch” by locating new plants in wetter areas and by developing alternative sources of energy such as solar panels and wind turbines, which use significantly less water.

Chinese Coal & Water Shortage

Chinese Coal & Water Shortage

Retrofitting Plants To Save Water

Another road is to use new technology to retrofit plants, making them more water efficient. But this doesn’t actually make sense in terms of overall efficiency and cost; studies have determined that retrofitting a 100 GW coal plant would cost $20 billion. Because of this, renewable energy is looking more attractive to Chinese power producers.

As China, Brazil and India begin to consume more energy per capita over the next 35 years, new technologies to solve problems, such as a limited water supply, are critical or water will become an increasingly finite resource.

This entry was posted on Sunday, September 22nd, 2013 at 9:13 am 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.”