April 3, 2018
A new study was released today that shares the results of Cadmus research into water use trends and future projections in the power sector. The Water-Energy Nexus in Georgia: A Detailed Examination of Consumptive Water Use in the Power Sector details future electricity demand in the state of Georgia and alternative scenarios to meet it, estimating water use, carbon dioxide emissions, other air emissions, and costs.
The study's findings reveal that water consumption is on track to increase 21 percent by 2050, primarily due to the addition of two new nuclear generating units expected in the early 2020s. However, the report concludes that water consumption by 2050 could, in fact, be decreased by 6 percent compared to 2015 through the adoption of energy efficiency, which reduces the need for power generation, and renewable energy, which requires less water for generation.
Cadmus developed an online simulator to analyze the impact of several variables on power generation-related water consumption—including various scenarios for generation and demand. The report shows that a wide range of outcomes for water use are possible for the power sector in Georgia depending on electricity demand and how it is met. While higher demand means a greater need for power generation, meeting that demand with nuclear, coal, natural gas, or solar energy will result in much different water use profiles for the state. Cost-effective electricity generation options are available to meet demand while reducing water use, carbon dioxide, and air emissions, and in reducing demand, energy efficiency can avoid water use and emissions altogether at a low cost.
In addition to future scenarios, the report provides a new detailed 2015 estimate for water use for power generation in Georgia at 153 million gallons per day. This estimate is based upon electricity demand and a review of the latest water use coefficients. The report provides a breakdown of the 2015 estimate and each scenario estimate by State Water Planning Region.