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The Water-energy Nexus: Transatlantic Solutions to a Global Challenge - Using the Interrelations of Water & Energy to Increase Electric Grid Stability

Maximilian Rech, Cody Coeckelenbergh

Water and energy are critical to economies on either side of the Atlantic. The significant historicalinvestments in water and energy infrastructures have contributed to the industrialization and economic successof western nations. Europe, North America as well as the rest of the world are heavily dependent on continuedsupply of water and energy for economic competitiveness, industrial production and societal wellbeing.Throughout the world, water production and distribution costs are rising. Water and energy are scarce in manyregions of the world. Lower water levels coupled with growing populations drive ever increasing pumping costsas providers struggle to meet consumer demand. Seasonal operations, lack of benchmarking data and the lackof available capital in the municipal sector result in functional, yet sub-optimal, networks. In parallel, the finitenature of fossil fuels, the growing concern over nuclear generation and the increasing cost of carbon emissionsare resulting in higher energy costs worldwide. As Europe, the United States and the rest of the world continue totransition from a fossil fuel and nuclear based energy system to non-conventional power supply and intermittentrenewable generation, grid operators will be forced to redefine how they procure energy and how they addressload management in order to continue to provide safe, reliable and available power. Both resources are heavilyinterdependent: Energy production requires considerable amounts of water and water infrastructure depends onsubstantial input of energy. The alignment of water and energy production peaks are not understood and verylittle consideration is given to time of use on the demand side. The impact of these patterns are not fullyappreciated or addressed to the extent that they can benefit both resources. Therefore, governments, businessand civil society in Europe and North America suggest thinking in terms of the 'water-energy nexus'

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