Energy is important. It fuels virtually everything we do in the modern age. You know what’s as important if not more so? Water.
The idea that the two exist in separate realms is a delusion shared by none who actually work in the industry. Water is utilized in some capacity by nearly every form of electricity generation. There are the obvious categories, such as hydroelectric generation and solar thermal energy. But then there are the sectors that are not quite as intuitive.
Take for example hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, which has transformed the American energy sector in a very short amount of time. While everyone has been focusing on the United States’ development, fewer have been talking about China. According to the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) China is currently sitting atop an estimated 1.115 quadrillion cubic feet of recoverable shale gas, making it the most shale gas-rich nation on the planet.
So if that’s the case, why is it that China is importing massive volumes of natural gas to satisfy an exploding domestic demand rather than producing it for themselves?
The answer is water. The fracking process requires vast amounts of water; water that China cannot comfortably spare, especially in the midst of a drought.
On the opposite end of the spectrum, even technologies like photovoltaic solar cannot exist completely without water on basis that the panel manufacturing process utilizes the stuff.
We could go on for the next 5,000 words about the essential role life’s most vital resource plays in the energy generation process, but the folks at the World Bank already assembled the following handy infographic on the matter. Check it out, and then remember to follow us on Twitter @EnergyDigital to be the first to see more articles in the future.