Here in California, we are told that the snow packs on our mountain tops are shrinking. There's less and less fresh water to share between our growing populations, farmers, ranchers and wildlife. Water is life.
This UPI article (U.S. Wants to Cut Power Plant Water Usage, July 18, 2007) alerted me to the problem concerning the oil fired, natural gas, coal and nuclear power plants. They all use copious amounts of our nation's fresh water resource.
Here is an excerpt:
WASHINGTON, U.S. Department of Energy officials said thermoelectric power plants using coal, oil, natural gas and nuclear sources require significant amounts of water for cooling and are a major competitor for water resources. A 2000 study found electric power plants were the second largest U.S. user of fresh water, withdrawing 136 billion gallons of fresh water daily. Only agriculture used more water.
Energy Department officials said the goal is to achieve a "50 percent" reduction in power plant fresh water usage by 2015.
Solar electric roof shingles and solar electric panels use "no" water in the generation of clean renewable electricity. They have no moving parts, make no noise, cause no chemical reaction, require virtually no maintenance and are guaranteed on average for 25 years.
When one factors in the true cost of generating electricity including the use of water as well as the production of greenhouse gases and other toxic emissions, solar electricity leads the field with clean, low cost, renewable energy.
Governor Schwarzenegger has recently told us that due to climate destabilization, forest fires aren't just seasonal anymore, they're year round. This will add new competition for our already strained precious water resources.
California as well as many other states can improve their flexibility to cope with an uncertain water future while practicing environmental stewardship.
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