Renewable energy choices and water requirements in South Africa

dc.contributor.authorMadhlopa, Amos
dc.contributor.authorKeen, Samantha
dc.contributor.authorSparks, Debbie
dc.contributor.authorMoorlach, Mascha
dc.contributor.authorDane, Anthony
dc.date.accessioned2016-02-07T09:49:59Z
dc.date.available2016-02-07T09:49:59Z
dc.date.issued2013
dc.date.updated2016-02-04T07:43:55Z
dc.description.abstractSouth Africa (SA) is an arid country, where water supply is often obtained from distant sources. There is also increasing pressure on the limited water resources due to economic and population growth, with a concomitant increase in the energy requirement for water production. This problem will be exacerbated by the onset of climate change. Recently, there have been concerns about negative impacts arising from the exploitation of energy resources. In particular, the burning of fossil fuels is significantly contributing to climate change through the emission of carbon dioxide (major greenhouse gas). In addition, fossil fuels are getting depleted, thereby decreasing energy security. Consequently, the international community has initiated various interventions, including the transformation of policy and regulatory instruments, to promote sustainable energy. In view of this, SA is making policy and regulatory shifts in line with the international developments. Renewable energy is being promoted as one way of achieving sustainable energy provision in the country. However, some issues require scrutiny in order to understand the water footprint of renewable energy production. Due to the large gap that exists between water supply and demand, trade-offs in water allocation amongst different users are critical. In this vein, the main objective of this study was to investigate renewable energy choices and water requirements in SA. Data was acquired through a combination of a desktop study and expert interviews. Water withdrawal and consumption levels at a given stage of energy production were investigated at international and national levels. Most of the data was collected from secondary sources (literature) and therefore the assessment boundaries are not fully comparable. Results show that there are limited data on all aspects of water usage in the production of energy, accounting in part for the significant variations in the values of water intensity reported in the global literature. It is vital to take into account all aspects of the energy life cycle to enable isolation of stages where substantial amounts of water are used. Conventional fuels (nuclear and fossil fuels) withdraw significant quantities of water over the life-cycle of energy production, especially for thermoelectric power plants operated with a wetcooling system. The quality of water is also adversely affected in some stages of energy production from these fuels. On the other hand, solar photovoltaic and wind energy exhibit the lowest demand for water, and could perhaps be considered the most viable renewable energy options in terms of water withdrawal and consumption.
dc.identifier.apacitation 2013. <i>Renewable energy choices and water requirements in South Africa.</i> http://hdl.handle.net/11427/16824en_ZA
dc.identifier.chicagocitation. 2013. <i>Renewable energy choices and water requirements in South Africa.</i> http://hdl.handle.net/11427/16824en_ZA
dc.identifier.citationMadhlopa, A., Keen, S., Sparks, D., Moorlach, M., & Dane, A. (2013). Renewable energy choices and water requirements in South Africa. Energy Research Centre, University of Cape Town, Cape Town.
dc.identifier.ris TY - AU - Madhlopa, Amos AU - Keen, Samantha AU - Sparks, Debbie AU - Moorlach, Mascha AU - Dane, Anthony AB - South Africa (SA) is an arid country, where water supply is often obtained from distant sources. There is also increasing pressure on the limited water resources due to economic and population growth, with a concomitant increase in the energy requirement for water production. This problem will be exacerbated by the onset of climate change. Recently, there have been concerns about negative impacts arising from the exploitation of energy resources. In particular, the burning of fossil fuels is significantly contributing to climate change through the emission of carbon dioxide (major greenhouse gas). In addition, fossil fuels are getting depleted, thereby decreasing energy security. Consequently, the international community has initiated various interventions, including the transformation of policy and regulatory instruments, to promote sustainable energy. In view of this, SA is making policy and regulatory shifts in line with the international developments. Renewable energy is being promoted as one way of achieving sustainable energy provision in the country. However, some issues require scrutiny in order to understand the water footprint of renewable energy production. Due to the large gap that exists between water supply and demand, trade-offs in water allocation amongst different users are critical. In this vein, the main objective of this study was to investigate renewable energy choices and water requirements in SA. Data was acquired through a combination of a desktop study and expert interviews. Water withdrawal and consumption levels at a given stage of energy production were investigated at international and national levels. Most of the data was collected from secondary sources (literature) and therefore the assessment boundaries are not fully comparable. Results show that there are limited data on all aspects of water usage in the production of energy, accounting in part for the significant variations in the values of water intensity reported in the global literature. It is vital to take into account all aspects of the energy life cycle to enable isolation of stages where substantial amounts of water are used. Conventional fuels (nuclear and fossil fuels) withdraw significant quantities of water over the life-cycle of energy production, especially for thermoelectric power plants operated with a wetcooling system. The quality of water is also adversely affected in some stages of energy production from these fuels. On the other hand, solar photovoltaic and wind energy exhibit the lowest demand for water, and could perhaps be considered the most viable renewable energy options in terms of water withdrawal and consumption. DA - 2013 DB - OpenUCT DP - University of Cape Town J1 - Energy Research Centre LK - https://open.uct.ac.za PB - University of Cape Town PY - 2013 T1 - Renewable energy choices and water requirements in South Africa TI - Renewable energy choices and water requirements in South Africa UR - http://hdl.handle.net/11427/16824 ER - en_ZA
dc.identifier.urihttp://hdl.handle.net/11427/16824
dc.identifier.vancouvercitation. 2013. <i>Renewable energy choices and water requirements in South Africa.</i> http://hdl.handle.net/11427/16824en_ZA
dc.language.isoeng
dc.publisherUniversity of Cape Town.
dc.publisher.departmentEnergy Research Centreen_ZA
dc.publisher.facultyFaculty of Engineering and the Built Environment
dc.publisher.institutionUniversity of Cape Town
dc.sourceEnergy Research Centre
dc.subject.otherWater supply
dc.subject.otherGreenhouse gas mitigation
dc.subject.otherSustainable development
dc.subject.otherRenewable energy sources
dc.titleRenewable energy choices and water requirements in South Africa
dc.typeOther
uct.type.filetypeText
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