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Energy and water are linked in many ways. Most energy production requires huge amounts of fresh water, while the consumption of water for domestic and agricultural demands uses large amounts of energy. Future water availability, whether from long distance transport or desalination, will require even greater amounts of energy. Water scarcity, especially in the U.S. west of the Mississippi River, as well as in the Southeast, has become a growing source of concern and tension. Consequently, water availability is becoming an important consideration for energy projects in certain regions. The potential for the demand for water to outstrip available supply… [more]View Discussion
Coal is one of America’s most abundant and affordable energy sources, and has served for decades as the country’s primary base load electric fuel. Coal comes with significant environmental trade-offs, including local air and water pollution, deforestation, and mountaintop removal from mining process, and greenhouse gas and toxic particulate emissions from burning it to generate electricity. Given plentiful U.S. supplies of low-cost coal, there is clear economic and energy security rationale for continuing to use coal, and government and industry have worked for years to promote and demonstrate “clean coal” technologies. It is hoped that these technologies will capture CO2… [more]View Discussion
Note: Synopsis drawn from report’s executive summary. Synopsis intended solely for purposes of generating discussion. The Future of Natural Gas: An Interdisciplinary MIT Study By the Massachusetts Institute of Technology Energy Initiative Natural gas has moved to the center of the current debate on energy, security and climate. This study examines the role of natural gas in a carbon-constrained world, with a time horizon out to mid-century. The overarching conclusions are that: Abundant global natural gas resources imply greatly expanded natural gas use, with especially large growth in electricity generation. Natural gas will assume an increasing share of the U.S.… [more]View Discussion