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Gulf Cooperation Council Energy Targets Will Reduce Water Consumption

A new report from the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA) has shown that if the targets set by the Gulf Cooperation Council are met, it will result in a 22% reduction in water consumption for power generation.

The report analysed how renewable energy can address a variety of challenging issues in the region, including water, energy, and food. It was released Wednesday on the sidelines of the World Future Energy Summit and International Water Summit in Abu Dhabi.

“Globally, an energy system with substantial shares of renewables, in particular solar photovoltaics and wind power, would save significant amounts of water, thereby reducing strains on limited water resources,” said IRENA Director-General Adnan Z. Amin.

“Until now, detailed knowledge on the role of renewable energy at the intersection of energy, food and water has been limited. But this first-of-its-kind report shows that in addition to enhancing energy security, improving air quality, reducing carbon emissions and creating jobs, greater deployment of existing renewable energy technology can also bolster water and food security.”

While the highlight of the report is the 22% reduction in water consumption in the Gulf Cooperation Council region (all the Arab states of the Persian Gulf, except for Iraq), the report dealt with “the interlinkage between the water, energy, and food supply systems” globally, labelling them “a major consideration in countries’ sustainable development strategies.”

Potential for reduction in water withdrawals for power generation in GCC region by 2030


If the renewable energy plants of the Gulf Cooperation Council are met, they could reduce water usage for power generation — used for “extracting and processing fossil fuels as well as for generating electricity from various sources” — by 22%. Elsewhere, however, water withdrawals for use in power generation could reduce by nearly half in the UK, more than a quarter in the US, Germany, and Australia, and over 10% for India by 2030.

Percentage reduction in water consumption and withdrawal between Reference Case (business as usual) and REmap 2030 (increased renewable energy uptake)


The full report is available for download here.

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