Should the countries from the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) meet their individual renewables targets, the GCC will lower its water consumption for power production and fuel extraction by 22%, a new study says.
According to a report by the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA), power generation from wind and solar facilities, for example, can withdraw up to 200 times less water than a coal power plant for the same output. The agency noted that this will lead to "substantial" cost savings in a region where water is expensive as it is scarce.
“Globally, an energy system with substantial shares of renewables, in particular solar photovoltaics and wind power, would save significant amounts of water, thereby reducing strains on limited water resources,” said IRENA’s director-general Adnan Z Amin.
In addition to water saving, renewable energy technologies have the potential to improve food security and help provide clean drinking water through renewable energy-based desalination plants.