World Bank to launch ‘Thirsty Energy’ initiative
Abu Dhabi, January 19, 2014
The World Bank will be launching its 'Thirsty Energy' initiative at the 7th Annual World Future Energy Summit (WFES) and the 2nd International Water Summit which kick off tomorrow (January 20) at Abu Dhabi National Exhibition Centre.
The three-day summit is being held as part of Abu Dhabi Sustainability Week.
Thirsty Energy is a global initiative designed to help governments prepare for an uncertain future by breaking disciplinary silos that prevent cross-sectoral planning, said the World Bank in its statement.
Today, more than 780 million people lack access to potable water, and over 1.3 billion people lack access to electricity. At the same time, estimates show that by 2035, global energy consumption will increase by 50 percent, while water consumption by the energy sector will increase by 85 per cent, said a .
In addition, climate change will further challenge water and energy manage¬ment by causing more water variability and intensified weather events, such as severe floods and droughts, it added.
The Thirsty Energy initiative will support more integrated energy-water planning, as well as quantify and measure tradeoffs and synergies between water and energy resource management, said a senior official.
"These interdependencies complicate possible solutions and make a compelling case to improve integrated water and energy planning in order to avoid unwanted future scenarios," remarked Diego J. Rodriguez, the senior economist, water unit of the World Bank..
“Population growth and rapidly-expand¬ing economies place additional demands on water and energy, while several regions around the world are already experiencing significant water and energy shortages. This is not a problem of the future but a problem of today and we must act now,” he added.
According to Rodriguez, significant amounts of water are needed in almost all energy generation processes, from generating hydropower, to cooling and other purposes in thermal power plants, to extracting and processing fuels.
"Conversely, the water sector needs energy to extract, treat and transport water. The interlinkages are clear but complex to address and this is why we embark on this new initiative," he stated.
While a global water crisis could take place in the future, the energy challenge is present. Water constraints have already adversely impacted the energy sector in many countries, like the US, India, France, Sri Lanka, China and Brazil, which have been affected by low water flows and high water temperatures, he remarked.
One of the key aspects of Thirsty Energy, created to support countries’ efforts to address challenges in energy and water management proactively, is that the energy sector is the entry point for promoting the dialogue and devising solutions.
Furthermore, Thirsty Energy will help tailor approaches depending on the available resources, modeling experi¬ence, and institutional and political realities of a country.
Commenting on the initiative, Naji Haddad, WFES show director, said: “The launch of the World Bank’s Thirsty Energy initiative is one the things I’m most excited about at this year’s summit.”
“One of the reasons we collocate the International Water Summit with World Future Energy Summit is that we want people to connect the dots and have a clear understanding about the relationship between energy usage and water shortages. These are not mutually exclusive problems, and they won’t be solved in isolation,” he added.
Hosted by Masdar, Abu Dhabi’s renewable energy company, WFES 2014 is the centerpiece of Abu Dhabi Sustainability Week, the largest ever gathering on sustainability in the Middle East.-TradeArabia News Service