[INFOGRAPHIC] Why Water is as Important for Energy as it is for Life
Energy is important. It fuels virtually everything we do in the modern age. You know what’s as important if not more so? Water.
The idea that the two exist in separate realms is a delusion shared by none who actually work in the industry. Water is utilized in some capacity by nearly every form of electricity generation. There are the obvious categories, such as hydroelectric generation and solar thermal energy. But then there are the sectors that are not quite as intuitive.
Take for example hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, which has transformed the American energy sector in a very short amount of time. While everyone has been focusing on the United States’ development, fewer have been talking about China. According to the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) China is currently sitting atop an estimated 1.115 quadrillion cubic feet of recoverable shale gas, making it the most shale gas-rich nation on the planet.
So if that’s the case, why is it that China is importing massive volumes of natural gas to satisfy an exploding domestic demand rather than producing it for themselves?
The answer is water. The fracking process requires vast amounts of water; water that China cannot comfortably spare, especially in the midst of a drought.
On the opposite end of the spectrum, even technologies like photovoltaic solar cannot exist completely without water on basis that the panel manufacturing process utilizes the stuff.
We could go on for the next 5,000 words about the essential role life’s most vital resource plays in the energy generation process, but the folks at the World Bank already assembled the following handy infographic on the matter. Check it out, and then remember to follow us on Twitter @EnergyDigital to be the first to see more articles in the future.
All but two UK regions failing on school energy efficiency
Most schools are still "treading water" on implementing energy efficient technology, according to new analysis of Government data from eLight.
Yorkshire & the Humber and the North East are the only regions where schools have collectively reduced how much they spend on energy per pupil, cutting expenditure by 4.4% and 0.9% respectively. Every other region of England increased its average energy expenditure per pupil, with schools in Inner London doing so by as much as 23.5%.
According to The Carbon Trust, energy bills in UK schools amount to £543 million per year, with 50% of a school’s total electricity cost being lighting. If every school in the UK implemented any type of energy efficient technology, over £100 million could be saved each year.
Harvey Sinclair, CEO of eEnergy, eLight’s parent company, said the figures demonstrate an uncomfortable truth for the education sector – namely that most schools are still treading water on the implementation of energy efficient technology. Energy efficiency could make a huge difference to meeting net zero ambitions, but most schools are still lagging behind.
“The solutions exist, but they are not being deployed fast enough," he said. "For example, we’ve made great progress in upgrading schools to energy-efficient LED lighting, but with 80% of schools yet to make the switch, there’s an enormous opportunity to make a collective reduction in carbon footprint and save a lot of money on energy bills. Our model means the entire project is financed, doesn’t require any upfront expenditure, and repayments are more than covered by the energy savings made."
He said while it has worked with over 300 schools, most are still far too slow to commit. "We are urging them to act with greater urgency because climate change won’t wait, and the need for action gets more pressing every year. The education sector has an important part to play in that and pupils around the country expect their schools to do so – there is still a huge job to be done."
North Yorkshire County Council is benefiting from the Public Sector Decarbonisation Scheme, which has so far awarded nearly £1bn for energy efficiency and heat decarbonisation projects around the country, and Craven schools has reportedly made a successful £2m bid (click here).
The Department for Education has issued 13 tips for reducing energy and water use in schools.