We are all talking about carbon but how much water is used in electricity generation?

water used in electricity generationThe water consumed in the production of electricity is an important factor for a dry continent like Australia… there are real limits to thermoelectric (steam based) generation like coal, gas and nuclear. This chart is for the whole life cycle of each generation method. This US based study shows that the average house indirectly uses (through energy) five times the amount of water that is used for domestic consumption. See more on Treehugger, and the full report here Burning Our Rivers: The Water Footprint of Electricity

Posted in Climate Change, Economics, Environment, Nature/science, Politics, Sustainability, The Main Featured Story

3 Responses

  1. Golden Girl

    While I agree that we need to be frugal with water, I think statistics like this can be misleading, for example, is manufacturing of renewable products factored in? These are produced using conventional energy sources I presume, mostly in countries like China which is one of the world’s great polluters.
    Something I’ve noticed is never discussed is the huge amount of water that is used by the winegrowing industry. I may have the figures wrong but I read somewhere it takes 1000 lt of water to produce a bottle of wine. I see this as a luxury item, that in times of drought should be at the tail end of water allotments. Especially now as much of the industy are
    huge commercial acreages.

  2. Tim

    I haven’t fully read the report myself but in life cycle assessment production impacts are included, and these are localised for energy mix variations i.e. China. That wind registers at all is entirely down to manufacturing impacts – in this case water used in the process and materials making turbines.
    Better than wine is the 5 litres used for 1 litre of bottled water – from the manufacturing of plastics, can’t recall where I read that one.
    Then there is cotton… anyway it’s good to be aware of the impacts of the choices we make, thats the starting point. Tim

  3. Phil Hansen

    depends on how you grow your wine i guess! the best wine is not irrigated – now that’s a luxury product!