Water: May be the Best Near-Term Benefit and Driver of a Robust Wind Energy Future (Poster)

Research output: NRELPoster


Water may be the most critical natural resource variable that affects the selection of generation options in the next decade. Extended drought in the western United States and more recently in the Southeast has moved water management and policy to the forefront of the energy options discussions. Recent climate change studies indicate that rising ambient temperatures could increaseevapotranspiration by more than 25% to 30% in large regions of the country. Increasing demand for electricity, and especially from homegrown sources, inevitably will increase our thermal fleet, which consumes 400 to 700 gal/MWh for cooling. Recovering the vast oil shale resources in the West (one of the energy options discussed) is water intensive and threatens scarce water supplies. Irrigationfor the growing corn ethanol industry requires 1,000 to 2,000 gallons of water for 1 gallon of production. Municipalities continue to grow and drive water demands and emerging constrained market prices upward. As illustrated by the 20% Wind Energy by 2030 analysis, wind offers an important mitigation opportunity: a 4-trillion-gallon water savings. This poster highlights the emerging constrainedwater situation in the United States and presents the case for wind energy as one of the very few means to ameliorate the emerging water wars in various U.S. regions.
Original languageAmerican English
StatePublished - 2009

Publication series

NamePresented at the WINDPOWER 2009 Conference and Exhibition, 4-7 May 2009, Chicago, Illinois

NREL Publication Number

  • NREL/PO-500-45341


  • water
  • wind energy
  • Wind Powering America


Dive into the research topics of 'Water: May be the Best Near-Term Benefit and Driver of a Robust Wind Energy Future (Poster)'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this