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Publication // Renewable Energy in the Water, Energy & Food Nexus

Renewable energy technologies could address some of the trade-offs between water, energy and food, bringing substantial benefits in all three sectors. They can allay competition by providing energy services using less resource-intensive processes and technologies, compared to conventional energy technologies. The distributed nature of many renewable energy technologies also means that they can offer integrated solutions for expanding access to sustainable energy while simultaneously enhancing security of supply across the three sectors. This report by the international renewable energy agency (IRENA) analyses the key opportunities that renewable energy offers, specifically to address the key challenges posed by the water, energy and food nexus.

Irena report


Renewable energy technologies can address trade-offs between water, energy and food, bringing substantial benefits in all three key sectors. This report from the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA) looks at how adopting renewables can ease trade-offs by providing less resource-intensive energy services compared to conventional energy technologies.

An energy system with substantial shares of renewable energy would be less water-intensive than one dependent on fossil fuels. Renewable energy technologies can boost water security by improving accessibility, affordability and safety. Integrating renewable energy in the agrifood supply chain helps to rein in cost volatility, bolster energy security, reduce greenhouse gas emissions and contribute to long-term food sustainability. Modern bioenergy – sustainably and efficiently managed – could play an important role in these ongoing transformations.


Renewable Energy in the Water, Energy & Food Nexus


January 2015



The International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA) is an intergovernmental organisation that supports countries in their transition to a sustainable energy future, and serves as the principal platform for international cooperation, a centre of excellence, and a repository of policy, technology, resource and financial knowledge on renewable energy. IRENA promotes the widespread adoption and sustainable use of all forms of renewable energy, including bioenergy, geothermal, hydropower, ocean, solar and wind energy in the pursuit of sustainable development, energy access, energy security and low-carbon economic growth and prosperity.

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