The Intersection Between Water Scarcity and Renewable Energy

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The starting point for any discussion of the intersection between water scarcity and renewable energy is the now generally-accepted correlation between climate change and water resource impacts, which is creating further imperatives for both reduction of GHG emissions and water conservation. Most projections conclude that the water resource impacts of climate change will almost certainly be both diverse and wide-ranging, necessitating the implementation of new protocols for allocating water resources such as the Model Interstate Water Compact. However, a less obvious impact of predicted water shortages will be on the future ability to site new renewable energy facilities and, perhaps more importantly, on which types of renewable energy gain prominence in the future. The future of hydropower as a significant source of renewable energy already is very much in doubt. In an era of increasing demand for limited water supplies, Federal programs such as the Endangered Species Act, and water rights reserved to parks, wilderness areas, and tribal lands, will further limit water availability for development of new renewable energy facilities. Among the manifestations of the coming water shortages is the already-increasing trend toward co-locating renewable energy and water reuse, reclamation and desalinization facilities, as well as the avid interest in new “water-smart” technologies being developed in Israel and elsewhere overseas. In short, the long-term adequacy and legal availability of water resources can be expected to play an ever more important role in the siting of renewable energy facilities and the types of facilities that are built. Learning objectives: • Correlation between water resource management and climate change • Effect of water scarcity on which renewable energy technologies will prevail • Effect of water scarcity on the siting of renewable energy facilities Relevant publications: • The published an article, “Yes, Virginia, There is Renewable Energy in Israel,” highlighting ZAG/S&W’s (the world’s only true Israeli-American law firm and unique joint venture of its founding firms, Zysman, Aharoni, Gayer & Co. and Sullivan & Worcester LLP) partnership with the Virginia Israel Advisory Board (VIAB) in a program to assist Israeli clean and renewable energy technology firms in using Virginia as a location to begin commercializing their products and services for U.S. markets. • Sullivan & Worcester’s Jeffrey M. Karp was quoted in “U.S. and Israeli Officials Convene in Washington for Water Technology Forum,” published by WaterTech Online on March 25, 2010. The article highlighted opportunities for water conservation and alternative energy solutions, which were showcased in the “Water Technology Forum” featuring Israeli companies, an event co-sponsored by ZAG/S&W. • On March 7, 2010, Jeffrey M. Karp was interviewed by the DC Urban Technology Examiner in an article entitled “Renewable Energy Update: DC Expert Shares Knowledge About New Business Opportunities.” Mr. Karp discussed new energy conservation products and technologies and focused on how they affect Israeli companies and U.S. companies with Israeli interests.

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Journal: TechConnect Briefs
Volume: Technical Proceedings of the 2011 Clean Technology Conference and Trade Show
Published: June 13, 2011
Pages: 228 - 231
Industry sector: Energy & Sustainability
Topic: Water Technologies
ISBN: 978-1-4398-8189-7