Is it time to rethink water and energy links in Middle East?

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Written by Holger Hoff

Friday, 18 January 2013 01:00

Some 30,000 people from 150 countries converged in Abu Dhabi the week of 14 January for the annual meeting of the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA) and other major events focused on energy, water, and how to build a more sustainable and climate-resilient future.

In this article, Holger Hoff, who has been studying the water-energy-climate nexus in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region, notes that countries all across the Middle East and North Africa are setting renewable-energy goals: 7% by 2020 in Abu Dhabi; 5% of by 2020 in Kuwait; 5% by 2030 in Dubai; one-third by 2032 in Saudi Arabia; 12% by 2020 in Lebanon, 20% by 2020 in Egypt.

Drawing on his MENA research and on the broader “nexus” concept, Hoff explains why an integrated approach to water and energy, mitigation and adaptation is crucial to the success of these efforts:

Water is essential to producing energy: growing bioenergy crops, processing fuels, cooling thermal power plants, generating hydropower. At the same time, energy is essential to water systems: for pumping, transporting and treating.

In water-scarce regions such as MENA, those linkages are even tighter and more challenging. Desalination, a key adaptation measure in the region, for example, is very energy-intensive and can increase Co2 emissions if it uses fossil fuels, as is now the norm; Saudi Arabia alone uses 1.5 million barrels of oil per day for desalination.

Source: RTCC, UK
Language: English

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