Partner Rick Glick and Kevin Patrick from Patrick, Miller & Kropf, P.C. spoke on May 3, 2012 on "Water Use in the Energy Industry."
Water is an essential component in all stages of energy production from all technologies. Water is used directly to generate hydroelectric power and indirectly to cool thermal generating plants. Large volumes of water are used for extracting shale gas and oil through fracking. Water is required to grow, harvest, mine and refine raw materials used in energy production. Water is used to deliver fuels to generating plants, such as coal slurry lines.
Participants explored energy-water-environmental tradeoffs involved in energy choices, such as:
- What is the future of hydropower? Can fishery issues be mitigated, both for existing and future projects?
- How is thermal energy production affecting water supplies and water quality? Are there alternatives?
- How real is the threat to water supplies posed by fracking and are there solutions?
- Can energy production mitigate impacts through recycling, watershed enhancement, a cap and trade system, all of the above?
- Will the exponential increase in population and demand for energy outpace water supplies? What environmental, social, legal and business considerations need be addressed to meet the challenges?