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Home > WaterR2B > Sectors > Energy

Energy

The thermo-electricity generating industry is the largest abstractor of fresh water (18.07x106 m3 per day), exceeding even that of the water utilities (16.33x106 m3 per day). Approximately 20% of the water abstracted by the thermoelectric industry is “lost” to evaporation, with the bulk of abstracted water being returned to rivers at higher temperature, and with the cocktail of chemicals used by the industry to control biofouling of cooling towers and other pipework. The energy-water nexus – the interdependency between these two commodities – is the focus of international concern by industries, governments and civil society. It is an area where NERC science is helping to better understand and manage these two, interdependent resources.

The oil and gas sectors all make use of outputs from NERC freshwater science in optimising productivity and minimising their impacts upon the environment, human health and other industries.  Major concerns relate to how water is produced and managed during production, and the impact of pollution events upon the environment.

Freshwater is a key factor across a range of the UK’s sources of renewable energy. In addition to the obvious importance of water in the design and operation of hydropower stations, water is also a factor affecting the growth rates for biofuel crops such as Miscanthus. Freshwater science also plays a significant role in the design and operation of operation of some tidal power stations, affects the efficiency of ground source heat pumps as well as a number of other types of renewable energy.

NERC science has supported the development of a wide range of the methods and tools used by energy companies, including :

 
 
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Sector: Energy
Water temperature and dissolved oxygen (DO) are both fundamentally important to the biological health of rivers, and therefore to the delivery of the Water Framework Directive objectives to enhance and maintain the quality of European waters.
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Sector: Energy
Evidence from the USA has shown high methane concentrations in some aquifers where shales are being commercially exploited for gas, raising the concern that hydraulic fracturing (fracking) is responsible. However, high-methane groundwater can also occur naturally, so the cause needs to be distinguished.
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Sector: Energy
Exploitation of shale gas in the UK could have economic benefits, but before granting a permit the relevant regulatory authorities (e.g. the Environment Agency, Natural Resources Wales etc) needs to be satisfied that the activity will not cause pollution of groundwater.
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Sector: Energy
The government roadmap for achieving national targets of 15% renewable energy by 2020 implies that about 6% of this target will be from non-domestic ground source heat pump installations. This corresponds to a 30-fold increase in installed capacity of heat pumps for the UK.
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Sector: Energy
The extensive abandoned mine workings beneath the City of Glasgow contain large quantities of heat stored in mine-water and rocks. The City of Glasgow and Scottish Power wish to establish whether the heat in these old mine workings can be used for residential and business space heating.
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Tags : mines, heating

 
 
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Sector: Energy
The Environment Agency estimates that in England and Wales hydropower schemes of all sizes could increase from 350 at present to 1200 by 2020, while an analysis of Scotland’s untapped hydropower potential suggests over 2,000 potential schemes in the 100-500kW range.
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Sector: Energy
Wastewater treatment at sewage works uses a lot of energy – in total, around 2% of all UK electricity demand. However, the latent energy stored in Northumbrian Water’s works is more than four times the amount required for treatment.
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Sector: Energy
The water industry is the fourth most energy-intensive sector in the UK economy. Reducing the industry’s energy costs, which have risen 159% since 2004, and cutting its carbon emissions are high priorities, but ensuring a continuous supply of water remains the primary objective. Can water companies generate hydropower without affecting water pressure within distribution networks and compromising supply to consumers?
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Tags : hydropower