Thursday, January 29, 2015

IRENA Report Examines Renewables’ Potential to Solve Water, Food and Energy Challenges

January 2015: A report titled 'Renewable Energy in the Water, Energy and Food Nexus,' which was released by the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA), finds that renewable energy has the potential to generate significant water savings, increase long-term food sustainability and bolster energy security.

The report highlights how renewables help ease the trade-offs among the water, agricultural and energy sectors through heightened water conservation, availability, accessibility and quality.

As one of many example cases from around the world presented in the report, the Gulf Cooperation Council's (GCC) renewable energy plans are highlighted as having the potential to reduce the power sector's water withdrawals by 20%. In agricultural supply chains, the report argues renewables can lower cost volatility, and in the energy sector the authors note that renewable processes and technologies are less resource-intensive.

The report also records renewables' added benefits of cutting pollution, fossil-fuel dependency and greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. In addition to explaining the role of solar, wind, geothermal, hydropower and related technologies in solving these interconnected challenges, the authors dedicate a section to bioenergy. They find that sustainably and efficiently managed bioenergy production and use can also advance water, energy and food security.

The report was released on the margins of the World Future Energy Summit and International Water Summit, held in January 2015 in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates (UAE). [IRENA Press Release] [IRENA Publication Webpage] [Publication: Renewable Energy in the Water, Energy and Food Nexus]

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