May 15, 2018 Read More →

Middle East Could Cut Water Woes by Turning To Solar

Thomson Reuters Foundation:

Thirsty Middle Eastern and North African countries could tap into their solar energy potential to cope with freshwater scarcity, according to resource experts.

Water could be saved by switching to renewable solar energy from fossil fuel electricity generation that uses up water, said the World Resources Institute (WRI). The findings show moving to clean energy has benefits aside from cutting planet-warming greenhouse gas emissions, said Tianyi Luo, a senior WRI manager.

“A lot of times, the water savings, that kind of benefits from renewable projects are overlooked,” Luo told the Thomson Reuters Foundation.

Yemen, Saudi Arabia, Oman, Libya, Algeria, Morocco, the United Arab Emirates and Jordan ranked among the top countries, measured by lack of freshwater and solar energy potential, that could benefit from such a switch, the WRI said.

“These countries have high-average resources for both solar and wind that could be put to very productive uses, and it could potentially assist them in their water-related challenges,” said Jordan Macknick, energy and water analyst at the U.S. National Renewable Energy Laboratory.

Fresh and sea water is often used in the process of cooling fossil-fuel power plants, ubiquitous in the Middle East and North Africa, according to the World Bank. Put another way, powering one 60-watt incandescent light bulb for 12 hours over one a year can consume 3,000 to 6,000 gallons of water, according to the U.S.-based Virginia Water Resources Research Center.

Solar panels, meanwhile, require little or no water to install and maintain.

More: Solar Power Could Save Water In Thirsty Middle East, North Africa, Analysis Says

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