The development of new renewable energy technologies and other expanding sources of energy such as shale gas will be limited by the availability of water in some regions of the world, according to research by a U.S. think tank.
The study shows the reliance on large amounts of water to create biofuels and run solar thermal energy and hydraulic fracturing — a technique for extracting gas from unconventional geological formations underground — means droughts could hamper their deployment.
"Water consumption is going up dramatically. We are introducing all kinds of technology to reduce the carbon impact of energy, without doing anything to reduce its impact on water," Michele Wucker, co-author of the report, told a seminar at the New America Foundation, a think tank in Washington.
The study, estimating the water consumption of conventional and renewable energy, found even so-called clean energy solutions use vast amounts of water.