Mr. Lynn Ashby H Texas
Dear Mr. Ashby:
Everybody talks about carbon footprints.
Turns out the water footprint from energy is just as important. If not more so.
Here’s why: It takes an enormous amount of water to generate electricity. And it takes an enormous amount of electricity to move water.
Example: One 60-watt light bulb burning 12 hours a day will consume at the power plant 3000-6000 gallons of water in a year.
A laptop computer uses 200 gallons a year.
If you live in Arizona, multiply those numbers by 7. If you get your electricity from a hydropower, multiply by 18.
That’s a lot of water for not much light.
That is how water and energy are connected. But no one is talking about it.
This is important because we are wasting a lot of water and power because we ignore this connection.
Example: In the California and Nevada desert, several large solar thermal power plants are being built. These plants require a great deal of water — in the desert?
Bottom line: There are only two types of power that do not require massive amounts of water: Wind and photovoltaic solar — the kind found on rooftops at homes, schools, wineries, army bases, and the like.
This is a much better solution that building power plants in the desert that need water we do not have, to generate power we do not need.
I am the CEO of one of the largest solar energy firms in the country.
If how water and energy are connected sounds like a story, I’d be happy to help any way I can. There’s been a lot of stuff in the academic world, but not much in the popular press.