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Research Papers, Publications and Books

Energy // Adding to Complexity: Climate Change in the Energy – Water Nexus

By Diego Rodriguez, Anna Delgado Martin and Antonia Sohns. Although the Water–Energy (and Climate) Nexus varies by region, challenges in securing enough water for energy and energy for water will increase with population and economic growth. The relationship between water and energy is already critical in many regions, and the resulting stresses are compounded as demand grows from emerging economies and developing countries. Water constraints have already adversely impacted the energy sector in many parts of the world. This article looks at existing and future challenges.


The rapid adoption of renewables over the past decade has been driven by ambitions to improve energy security, expand energy access, mitigate climate change and stimulate socio-economic development. The distributed, sustainable, environment- friendly and less resource consumptive nature of renewable energy means that they can also reduce strains on specific elements of the Nexus. They can further sustainable development objectives and assist governments in optimizing resource security across all sectors. However, quantitative and qualitative knowledge on the role renewables can play in addressing Nexus-related challenges remains dispersed and limited. As a first step towards bridging the knowledge gap, IRENA undertook a study entitled ‘Renewable energy and the Nexus’ to bring to the forefront the opportunities presented by renewables. The report adopted a life-cycle approach to identifying renewables intervention in the water and food sector. This chapter presents some of the key findings from the study.


Frank Wouters possesses over twenty-five years of international experience in the field of energy. He held several senior management positions in leading organizations and institutions in the fields of energy and sustainability, including Evelop International BV in the Netherlands, Econcern in Germany, NICE International in The Gambia, and TDAU at the University of Zambia. He currently provides strategic support to companies and organizations developing sustainable energy businesses worldwide, with a focus on structuring and finance. Wouters has worked throughout his career with a wide variety of stakeholders, including the private sector and government officials at the highest levels. From 2009 to 2012 he served as the Director of Masdar Clean Energy, a developer and operator of renewable power generation projects, where he was responsible for projects representing enterprise value of more than $3 billion in Asia, Africa and Europe. He was appointed Deputy Director-General of the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA) in September 2012, a position he held for two years.

Divyam Nagpal is an Associate in IRENA’s Knowledge, Policy and Finance Centre. Within the Policy Unit he works on a broad range of projects, including renewable energy policy assessment, off-grid renewables for energy access, and the Water, Energy and Food Nexus. He has co-authored several publications, including IRENA’s recent publication on renewable energy in the Water, Energy and Food Nexus.




The Water, Food, Energy and Climate Nexus: Challenges and an agenda for action. Edited by Felix Dodds and Jamie Bartram. London, New York 2016, pp. 176-193

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Peace and conflict

Project // Improving Security and Climate Resilience in a fragile Context through the Water-Energy and Food Security Nexus (Frexus)

The Frexus project fosters cross-sectoral and integrated approaches in resource management, within local communities in Mali, Niger and Chad that are faced with the consequences of resource scarcity and climate change. The vicious cycle of resource scarcity, competition, conflict and instability currently challenging many communities, can be turned into a virtuous cycle of resilience, sustainable resources management, cooperation and security. Frexus (Nexus in Fragile contexts) aims at providing...

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Pocket Flyer // Water, Energy and Food for All A Nexus Approach

The 2017 BMZ Water Strategy, with its six intersectoral strategies, is a binding basis for German Development Cooperation and integrates cross-sectoral thinking for economically sustainable, integrated and climatefriendly development. The Water, Agriculture and Energy Nexus is one of six intersectoral strategies, highlighting the need to achieve water, energy and food security for well-being.

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Publication // What-If: An Open-Source Decision Support Tool for Water Infrastructure Investment Planning within the Water–Energy–Food–Climate Nexus

By Raphaël Payet-Burin, Mikkel Kromann, Silvio Pereira-Cardenal, Kenneth Marc Strzepek and Peter Bauer-Gottwein. This paper presents a new open-source hydro-economic optimization model, incorporating in a holistic framework, representations of the water, agriculture, and power systems. The model represents the joint development of Nexus related infrastructure and policies and evaluates their economic impact, as well as the risks linked to uncertainties in future climate and socio-economic...

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