Advancing the Energy-Water Nexus // How Governors Can Bridge Their Conservation Goals
To lower the cost and environmental impact of electricity, states will want to manage water resources with as little energy consumption as possible. Opportunities may also exist to integrate energy and water conservation efforts to unlock benefits for both systems. Governors play an important role in coordinating and integrating such efforts, as they have a unique ability to break down regulatory silos to create better policy designs that can leverage limited state funds, avoid waste and protect the environment.
A large amount of energy is used to pump, treat and transport water. A substantial amount of water is used to extract, generate and transport energy, and to cool some types of power plants. This paper examines the resource conservation aspects of the energy-water nexus that can be improved through better state policy design. Many of the ideas in this paper were discussed at an experts roundtable hosted by the National Governors Association Center for Best Practices in February 2016, which brought together a diverse set of stakeholders—including state and federal officials, electric and water utilities, environmental organizations and academics—to review a draft set of policy recommendations. An earlier paper, State Practices to Protect Drinking Water Resources While Developing Shale Energy, examined how states can address the interdependency of energy developed with hydraulic fracturing and water quality and quantity.
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