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02 October, 2010

In Era of Climate Change and Water Scarcity, Meeting National Energy Demand Confronts Major Impediments

In Era of Climate Change and Water Scarcity, Meeting National Energy Demand Confronts Major Impediments | Circle of Blue | WaterNews: "... Solar generating plants that use conventional cooling technology use two to three times as much water as coal-fired power plants, according to the U.S. Department of Energy’s National Renewable Energy Laboratory. Newer technology that relies on air for cooling uses much less water, but also is less efficient in generating power, thus requiring more land. The Congressional Research Service recently estimated that solar power plants cooled with water could generate 53,000 megawatts of electricity in the Southwest, equal to more than 50 large coal-fired utilities, but also would require 164 billion gallons of water annually, an enormous amount in the driest region in the country...

... Four months ago, in Choke Point: U.S., Circle of Blue set out to better understand what was happening around the country as communities, businesses, and residents confronted the increasingly intense competition between water and energy. Our reporting from the coal fields of southern Virginia, the high plains of the Dakotas, California’s Central Valley, the Midwest’s farm fields, Northern Alberta, Canada, and elsewhere identified urgent contests between energy development and water supply that can be resolved. But taming the conflict between energy and water also poses extraordinarily difficult challenges to regional economies, governing practices, technological development and the quality of natural resources..."


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