Water and energy don’t mix – just see any warning on a hairdryer – but you should start thinking about how the two work together. The use of each of these vital resources impacts the other, and the DOE recently released a report that tackles this integrated issue.
The Water-Energy Nexus: Challenge and Opportunities lays out an array of technical and operational challenges at local, regional, and national scale.
The report notes that water scarcity, variability, and uncertainty are becoming prominent, potentially leading to vulnerabilities of the U.S. energy system.
Climate change, population growth, technological advances, and policy developments are spurring informed action. DOE offers data-driven solutions to address these challenges.
“DOE can bring its strong science, technology, and analytic capabilities to bear to help the nation move to more resilient energy-water systems,” says Secretary of Energy Ernest Moniz. “This report provides a foundation for future DOE action in response to the challenges before us.”
The report identifies six strategic pillars that help coordinate research and development:
- Optimize the freshwater efficiency of energy production, electricity generation, and end use systems
- Improve the energy efficiency of water management, treatment, distribution, and end use systems
- Enhance the reliability and resilience of energy and water systems
- Increase safe and productive use of nontraditional water sources
- Promote responsible energy operations with respect to water quality, ecosystem, and seismic impacts
- Exploit productive synergies among water and energy systems.
To pursue next steps, DOE plans to work with other federal agencies, state and local governments, private industry, academic institutions, and non-governmental organizations.