The Saving Water, Saving Energy blog provides news, resources and analysis on water, energy, and climate change issues with an emphasis on the inextricable connections between water and energy, also know as the Water-Energy Nexus.
It’s bad enough that climate legislation is dead in the Senate at a time when we are seeing clear signs of human-caused global warming all over the world. To make matters worse, in the absence of climate legislation, more than 30 traditional coal-fired power plants have been built in the United States since 2008 or are under construction, signaling that coal will continue to pollute our water and warm our atmosphere for decades to come.
An oft-cited criticism of clean, low-water using energy technologies such as wind and photovoltaic solar is that they generate energy intermittently and can overload power grids with electricity at times when nobody needs it. The Bonneville Power Administration is exploring one potential solution to this problem: storing surplus power in water heaters.
As town's across the country adopt low impact development and green infrastructure strategies to manage their stormwater, many are finding that the benefits of these approaches go far beyond clean water. A report produced by the Bureau of Environmental Services in Portland, OR has quantified some of these benefits, including the direct energy savings resulting from the city's innovative Grey to Green Initiative, illustrating the significant energy and greenhouse gas emissions reductions that can be achieved through low impact development.
A solar project proposed in California’s San Joaquin Valley has been embraced by environmentalists and farmers alike, making the project a potential model for how to address the political, environmental and financial challenges associated with large-scale solar development.
The Pacific Institute has just released an awesome new public outreach and education tool called the WECalc – Your Home Water, Energy and Climate Calculator. The user-friendly WECalc allows anybody to quantify their personal or household’s water use and its associated energy and greenhouse gas emissions, then provides specific tips based on your water use habits.
Later this month, North Carolina State University will be hosting a three day international specialty workshop, Decentralized Water and Wastewater Reuse For Clean, Green and Smart Rural and Urban Communities. This conference will include over 20 workshops as well as a full day of field site visits.
The Bureau of Reclamation just announced that $12.8 million dollars has been awarded for innovative projects that conserve water, and the energy required to provide water. The projects - by no means an ideal list - are nonetheless a good showcase of the variety of ways that water managers in different states are coming up with ways to supply sustainable, low-energy water in the face of growing demands and a changing climate.
Residents and neighbors of Milwaukee, Wisconsin: mark your calendars! The Environmental Leadership Program is holding a national conference, Tapping Into Solutions: The Future of Water, in Milwaukee in late September and River Network will be there to talk about the water-energy-climate connection.
An electric utility in Portland, OR has rolled out a new program that helps customers save energy by saving water through high-performance water efficient shower heads. The program provides a great example of how energy utilities should turn to water-oriented strategies as a way to achieve their energy conservation goals.
In an effort to keep our readers up to date and informed on all the latest jazz and hip-happenings in the world of climate change, once a week the Saving Water, Saving Energy Blog will now be reposting some great content from The Climate Post with permission from the author, Eric Roston, a senior Associate at Duke University's Nicholas Institute.
River Network’s Water and Energy program has just released the Water-Energy Toolkit: Understanding the Carbon Footprint of Your Water Use. This guidebook features descriptions and links to download 11 different tools or calculators that are designed to help river advocates, water managers and the general public understand the carbon footprint of their water use and the numerous benefits of water efficiency and the “soft path” approach.
The Alliance for Water Efficiency just sent out an update on the unprecedented opportunity to include water efficiency rebates side-by-side with energy efficiency incentives in a piece of federal legislation.
Western Resource Advocates and Environmental Defense Fund released a new report this month that, “shines a spotlight on the strong ties between climate, energy, and water in the West and highlights pioneering policies and practices already taking place in the region. These practices, in tandem with federal legislation that limits carbon pollution, will help build a stronger clean energy economy in the West.”
Yesterday, Bevan and I were listening to the radio and we heard an excellent water conservation jingle produced by the Regional Water Providers Consortium. The next time you are out around the campfire with some friends and everyone is feeling a little bored with the same old sing-alongs, here's a new song you should be singing: Drip Drop Queen.
"More than 1,100 U.S. counties -- a full one-third of all counties in the lower 48 states -- now face higher risks of water shortages by mid-century as the result of global warming, and more than 400 of these counties will be at extremely high risk for water shortages, based on estimates from a new report by Tetra Tech for the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC)."
Last week, I had the opportunity to take a tour of the Columbia Boulevard Wastewater Treatment Plant in Portland, OR and learn firsthand about how Oregon’s largest sewage treatment plant is cutting energy costs and greenhouse gas emissions thanks to a cogeneration system running off the plant’s abundant biogas. While the plant should definitely be lauded for its commitment to reducing greenhouse gas emissions, I can't help but feel like there are still valuable opportunities to reap even greater energy savings.
A few months ago on a mild evening in March, one of River Network’s own was put in the spotlight, on the big screen, to spread the seed, commonwealth and knowledge of water-energy-nexusism. On March 4, 2010, Bevan Griffith-Sattepsiel, River Network’s Saving Water, Saving Energy Project Coordinator, was the featured guest on The Waterspot, a Portland Metro Area public access television program. Check out the clips below.
The POLIS Water Sustainability Project has released a video based on the findings from their report on the water-energy nexus in Ontario. The seven minute video provides a great overview of the water-energy-climate connection, focusing on how energy is embedded in the water we use and how municipalities and individual citizens can begin reducing the carbon footprint of their water use.
As our nation scuttles to find cleaner energy sources, we must look at each energy option on the table from every possible perspective, examining all potential externalities or unintended consequences – especially consequences related to our water. With the spotlight on ethanol as a ‘cleaner’ substitute for oil and gasoline, we must ask the question, “Have we adequately examined the externalities associated with running our cars and trucks on ethanol?”