W4EF - Framework for evaluation and reporting of the energy impacts on water (AG029)

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W4EF - Framework for evaluation and reporting of the energy impacts on water (AG029)

The main objective of this Action Group is to produce an adapted framework for energy companies in order to assess their water use and water impacts.

Water supply will be the major challenge facing humanity during the 21st century. As this resource is vital for all activities, and as no substitute exists, human expansion and economic growth are leading to an inexorable increase in demand. Water is used in energy production and supply, and, in turn, energy is used for pumping, moving and treating water. As a result, in the context of climate change, the linkage between both energy and water systems has grown more complex and interdependent. In the energy sector, water is used from sourcing to production, including fuel extraction (oil, gas, biofuels, uranium, etc.), energy production and conversion, and associated processes (e.g. refining, storage, and transportation). In terms of challenges & opportunities, current water use assessment methodologies are not adapted to energy company needs: either because they are implemented on too global a scale (being well-suited to a specific area and not to a process), or because they don’t tackle quality issues or the risks and impacts related to the use of the resource. The innovation potential in the field of water & energy thus remains largely untapped, offering huge opportunities.

Unfortunately, little comparative research findings exist at the moment. Assessment tools and methodologies to estimate the water use of different human activities, along with reporting guidelines and standards, have therefore been developed during the recent years. As recommended during the 5th World Water Forum (Istanbul 2009), scientific research on the water footprint of energy generation must be further explored. Although all existing initiatives provide interesting outputs, energy companies have felt that none of them clearly fitted their specific situations and needs. A project was therefore launched at the 6th World Water Forum (Marseille 2012) whose objective is to produce an adapted framework to assess energy companies’ water use and related impacts. It will be comprehensive, operational, and useable by stakeholders.

The Action Group will develop a comprehensive approach to the water footprint of energy production. It will allow differentiating between water withdrawal, water consumption and net water consumption, and calculating different kinds of interactions between the activity and its water environment. The underlying project assumption is that existing frameworks and initiatives do not fulfill the need of the energy sector. After agreement on the framework and its validation, a tool will be developed to help implement the methodology in a consistent way and ensure wide dissemination across the European energy industry and beyond.

This large Action Group is composed of the following participants:

- EDF (Electricité de France) will lead the proposed Action Group composed of various international stakeholders such as :
- International Organisations: World Water Council, World Energy Council, World Business Council for Sustainable Development (WBCSD), International Energy Agency, United Nations Environment Program (UNEP)
- Representative associations of energy sectors: Renewable Energy Alliance including International Hydropower Association (IHA), World Nuclear Association, World Coal Association, IPIECA
- Companies: GDF Suez, Veolia Water, Hydro Tasmania, Statkraft, BP International...
- Consulting firms: Accenture, Limnotech, Quantis
- NGOs: Greenpeace International
- University and scientific institutions: Electric Power Research Institute (EPRI), University of Twente - Water Footprint Network (WFN)., Lund University, Sintef Energy Research, University of Bordeaux, Austin University of Texas, Norwegian University for Science and Technology (NTNU), Centre for Environmental Design of Renewable Energy (CEDREN), ...

WG Documents:
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