|Source: How coal is deepening the water crisis in India|
But there's another problem for coal. Coal power stations guzzle water, and in countries prone to drought, that's a problem, especially since global warming is worsening drought.
India’s lack of water will drive the need for solar and wind energy more than concerns over climate change will, according to a report released Tuesday.Read more here.
More than 80 percent of the subcontinent’s electricity comes from power plants that require freshwater cooling, which presents a problem since a lack of water was the prime culprit for some power plants shutting down over the last five years, according to the World Resources Institute, a nonpartisan environmental think tank in Washington.
The plants include both coal and nuclear generators, called thermal plants because of the heat they produce to make electricity. “Thermal power plants have been forced to shut down due to inaccessibility of cooling water, losing tens of terawatt-hours of electricity generation in recent years,” the report said.
The report is the first comprehensive study of how access to water is affecting India’s energy needs. India lost about 14 terawatt-hours of power generation because of water shortages in 2016, which canceled out “more than 20 percent of growth in the country’s total electricity generation from 2015,” according to the report.
The scenario will only grow worse as India’s economy grows and the demand for fossil fuels and nuclear power increase, putting utilities and industries in a fight for water. One of the ways for India to avoid the increased water scarcity is to meet its aggressive goals for building photovoltaic solar panels and wind turbines, the report recommends to the Indian government.
“Water consumption from India’s thermal power generation rose steadily every year between 2011 and 2016 but would stay below its 2016 level by 2027 if the country’s most ambitious renewable goals are successfully achieved,” the report stated.