Another scorcher in the Southwest. . . hot and dry . . . no problem!

July 17, 2011 § 1 Comment

Crank up the AC . . . but what about the water?

heat wave in USA

heat wave in the USA

It’s July in America, and we expect it to be hot . . . but, it is so dry. How about an occasional afternoon thunder shower . . . not a tornado please, just a peaceful summer shower. The Texas governor chides Texans to pray for rain (and the nation). Good idea, but then what

about the water? Is this a drought or a longer period of aridification? To be sure, we will need to visit the issue again in 50 or 100 years, but in the meanwhile, it should make perfectly good sense to be mindful of water usage and conservation. Let’s throw the kids a bone.
What about energy and water usage . . . does it matter? Of course it does.
According to a USGS Study on water use in the U.S. (2005 data), thermoelectric (steam electricity generation) accounted for 201M gallons or 49% of U.S. daily water withdrawals:

U.S. water withdrawals by category

Public Supply 11%
Domestic 1%
Irrigation 31%
Livestock 1%
Aquaculture 2%
Industrial 4%
Mining 1%
Thermoelectric power 49%
A March, 2011 study by the non-partisan, World Policy Institute, The Water-Energy Nexus, Adding Water to the Energy Agenda, takes a water centric look at the impact of water consumption, withdrawal, and quality on energy production for transportation fuels and
electricity generation.
The study offers findings in language we understand in Texas. Comparing different fuel sources, how much water is consumed to operate an 18,000 Btu room air conditioner 12 hours/day for one week? [In Texas, think 24 hours/day!]
Fuel source Gallons of water
Hydroelectric 2,000
Geothermal 700
Solar Thermal 400
Nuclear 300
Thermoelectric, coal 200
Thermoelectric, oil 200
Coal, IGCC 100
Wind minimal
Solar PV minimal minimal
SOLAR PV wins!  This is not a surprise.  A home solar system uses light energy as a source fuel.We do not need water to produce light. A home solar system is distributive; the electricity isproduced where the electricity is consumed: on the load side of your electricity meter. No T&D!
So, think about your energy future; think about your water future, and pray for rain too.  Remember, a home solar system is scalable, you do not need to cover your rooftop with solar panels – maybe just enough to equal your AC electricity consumption! PV solar electricity is agrassroots, bottom-up movement. That’s perfect – one home and one business at a time.
Let’s get started today.
Chet Boortz,
[The comments, positions, and opinions stated above are my own and may or may not representthose of SES 21 USA and its affiliate companies.]

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