Increasing Renewable Energy In India Can Reduce Emissions, Water Use, & Supply Risk

Clean Technica | By: Joshua S Hill | January 16, 2018:

Increasing the share of renewable energy sources in India’s electricity mix and implementing changes in cooling technologies for thermal power plants could serve not only to reduce the country’s carbon emissions intensity, but could also substantially reduce water consumption, mitigating or outright eliminating electricity supply risk due to water shortages.

A pair of reports authored by the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA) and the World Resources Institute (WRI) and published on the sidelines of the Abu Dhabi Sustainability Week at the World Future Energy Summit highlight the danger facing India if business-as-usual methods relating to thermal power and water usage are not addressed quickly.

Specifically, WRI analyzed all of India’s more than 400 thermal power plants and found that the country’s power supply is facing water shortages that is increasingly jeopardizing the country’s electricity security.

Specifically, WRI determined that 40% of India’s thermal power plants are located in high water-stress areas, and 14 of India’s 20 largest thermal utilities experienced at least one shutdown due to water shortages between 2013 and 2016, resulting in costs of $1.4 billion.

Worse, WRI expects the issue will only worsen unless direct action is taken to reduce water reliance. 70% of India’s thermal power plants will face high water-stress by 2030 due to climate change and increased demands from other sectors if direct action isn’t taken soon.

In all, 90% of India’s thermal power plants rely on freshwater for cooling. To give this a bit of context, in 2010 India’s total domestic water consumption was approximately 7.5 billion cubic meters, meaning that thermal power plants accounted for around 20% of India’s water.

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