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Wind energy is less demanding on water, says report

Power plants are contributing to Europe's water scarcity, a new report published today by the European Wind Energy Association (EWEA), has revealed. The EWEA called on EU governments to take into account the vast amounts of water used to generate power when they meet on March 20-21 to formulate energy and climate policy.

Energy production accounts for 44% of the EU’s total water useEnergy production accounts for 44% of the EU’s total water use

Wind energy consumes hardly any water to generate electricity, said the EWEA.

The report, Saving Water with Wind Energy, says nuclear, coal and gas-fired power stations in Europe use 4.5 billion cubic meters of water a year, mainly for cooling purposes, which is the amount of water used by 82 million EU citizens annually. It added that energy production accounts for 44% of the EU’s total water use compared with agriculture (24%), the public water supply (21%) and industry (11%).

RenewableUK’s director of external affairs, Jennifer Webber, said: “Water is a very precious resource – water restrictions were imposed in the UK in the summer of 2012 in areas hit by drought. One of the many benefits of wind energy is that it requires hardly any water to keep generating.

"This report is a timely reminder of the environmental impact of other technologies which use vast amounts of water for cooling. When governments set energy policy, they should take this into account – it’s not just the carbon footprint that matters, but also the water swallowed up by these other thirsty generators”.

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