Commercial, Energy Efficiency, Industrial, Utilities - January 26, 2016
Why C&I businesses need to think about saving water
Texas is accustomed to drought-flood cycles, but 2015 proved a particularly difficult year for both. As water scarcity becomes an increasing concern for many U.S. states, cities and municipalities, corporations should take notice because water scarcity often means higher water bills.
Kate Zerrenner recently highlighted the Texas situation in the EDF Energy Exchange blog and suggested two major developments that will impact water resources going forward. The first is the U.S. EPA's Clean Power Plan that will regulate greenhouse gas emissions from the power sector and the second is the growing trend toward municipal renewable energy procurement. Zerrenner wrote:
Safeguarding energy and water reliability means ensuring Texas continues to grow and draw businesses to our state – and the Clean Power Plan will help us get there. Compared to the state’s 2012 power generation mix (the baseline year used to create the Clean Power Plan’s targets), meeting the plan’s goals would save 124,000 acre-feet of water in 2030 (the year in which the standards will fully be in effect), roughly the equivalent of Caddo Lake in East Texas. Those are savings worth pursuing.
She also pointed out an example in San Diego, where the city just opened the largest water desalination plant in the Western Hemisphere. Desalination is extremely energy intensive so using other water-intensive power sources – like coal, nuclear or gas – essentially "means we're using water to make water." This issue can be addressed by paring desalination with renewables.
It is important for commercial and industrial businesses to watch these water issues and think about ways to conserve water in their own operations because in a water-constrained world, water costs are only expected to rise.