Frances Bernards – Division of Environmental Quality Blog
The “water-energy nexus” has been getting a lot of press lately—the nexus being the relationship between how much water is used to generate and transmit energy and how much energy it takes to deliver water to homes, businesses, and industry. While awareness has been growing about the amount of water needed to produce energy, less attention has been given to the energy needs of the nation’s water systems.
How much energy are we talking about? Researchers at the University of Texas at Austin tackled that question in their 2012 peer-reviewed study “Evaluating the Energy Consumed for Water in the United States.” Study results indicate that 12.6 percent of the energy consumed in 2010 by the U.S.—over 600 billion kilowatt hours per year—is used to deliver water. In fact, the energy used to generate electricity for pumping, treating, heating, cooling, and pressurizing water in the U.S. is approximately 25 percent more than is used for residential or commercial lighting.
So, how does Utah’s energy consumption compare to the national average? The Utah Division of Water Resources estimates that 7 percent of the state’s energy consumption is water-related. (…)