Monday, July 25, 2011

Important to Keep in Mind: How Much Water is Needed to Produce Future Energy?


Looming water shortages, climate change, agriculture, growing populations, and expensive energy are some of the challenges facing our future. Not enough attention is paid to the water requirements of energy production. The above chart shows gallons of water required per Megawatt hour for various energy generating sources. (Note that the chart only includes water used for operation as there is some water involved in the production of solar and wind energy.)

One worry is that as climate change causes water availability disruptions, or flooding for that matter, this could lead to disasters at nuclear power plants. We have already seen a preview of this in the Missouri River flooding this spring at two Nebraska nuclear power plants.


  1. Water for biofuels is also something to look at perhaps. Both to grow (where irrigation used) and to process.

  2. This does not take into consideration the water necessary to mine, process, build the transportation equipment, assemble devices, and install the devices. As is so often the truth, it is blind to the total wind and solar device systems.