Energy is essential to our nation’s economy, and water is our country’s greatest liquid asset. That’s why Sens. Bingaman (D-NM) and Murkowski (R-AK), chair and ranking member of the Senate Energy Committee, have introduced legislation that seeks to bring about a better understanding of the relationship (and interdependence) between the two resources.
“The bill Sen. Murkowski and I introduced is a necessary first step in the direction of integrating America’s energy and water policies,” Bingaman said. “Developing new policies that integrate energy and water solutions will become increasingly vital as populations grow, environmental needs increase and a changing climate continues to affect our nation’s energy and water resources.”
“Energy and water resources are essential to our nation’s future and security,” Murkowski said. “This bill provides an opportunity to identify the major areas we should be focusing on to better understand the interdependency between water and energy development, as well mechanisms that could further our investment into technology to more efficiently use these systems that are so important in our daily lives.”
A tremendous amount of water is used in this country to produce energy. Similarly, a tremendous amount of energy is consumed in the delivery and treatment of water supplies. With the exception of certain renewable energy sources, building more power plants and creating new fuels will impact scarce water resources. Similarly, increasing demand for water will drive up energy use. The linkage between the two is too often overlooked.
The Energy and Water Integration Act of 2009 contains the following:
ü National Academy Energy-Water Study – Requires a study to assess water use associated with developing fuels in the transportation sector, and the water consumed in different types of electricity-generation.
ü Power Plant Water and Energy Efficiency– directs DOE to identify best available technologies and other strategies maximize water and energy efficiency in producing electricity.
ü Reclamation Water Conservation & Energy Savings Study – directs the Bureau of Reclamation (BOR) to evaluate energy use in storing and delivering water from Reclamation projects, and identify ways to reduce such use through conservation, improved operations, and renewable energy integration.
ü BOR Brackish Groundwater Desalination Facility– Organic legislation to establish research priorities for this existing Facility, including renewable energy integration with desalination technologies.
ü EIA Energy Use for Water Assessment – a requirement for EIA to continually report on the energy consumed in water treatment and delivery activities.
ü Energy-Water Roadmap – directs the Secretary of Energy to develop an Energy-Water Research and Development Roadmap to address water-related challenges to sustainable energy generation and production.
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