15 June 2014
Saving water with wind energy
Water is a precondition for life, an indispensable resource for the economy, and it plays a fundamental role for the climate. Each EU citizen consumes 4,815 litres of water per day on average, including direct water use (household consumption) and indirect water use (water required to produce industrial and agricultural products) (Vanham & Bidoglio, 2013). All these uses include energy production.
Key findings for Europe:
- Energy production (primarily cooling water) uses the highest amount of water in the EU (44%). The water used by thermal electricity generation and nuclear is equivalent to the average annual household water use of 82 million EU citizens or the population of Germany;
- Wind energy avoided the use of 387 million cubic metres (mn m³) of water in 2012 – equivalent to the average annual household water use of almost 7 million EU citizens;
- The 387 mn m³ of water use avoided by wind energy would avoid a cost of €743 mn;
- In 2030 wind energy will avoid between 1.22 bn m³ and 1.57 bn m³ of water according to calculations based on the EC 2050 Energy Roadmap’s projections;
- In 2030, avoided costs of water use from increased wind energy deployment would amount to between €3.34 bn and €4.30 bn that year.