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Hitting the renewable energy targets of the Gulf Cooperation Council region will result in a 22 per cent cut in water consumption for power generation, according to a new report by the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA).

The water-saving potential of renewable energy is among the major findings in Renewable Energy in the Water, Energy and Food Nexus, released today on the sidelines of the World Future Energy Summit in Abu Dhabi.IRENA wind and solar

The report states that for power generation stage, water for solar photovolatics and wind “are negligible compared to conventional themoelectric generation where substantial quantities of water are needed for cooling”.

It adds that “solar PV or wind could withdraw up to 200 times less water than a coal power plant to produce the same amount of electricity. In a region where water is scarce and expensive, this would lead to substantial cost savings.”

IRENA director-general Adnan Z. Amin said: “Globally, an energy system with substantial shares of renewables, in particular solar photovoltaics and wind power, would save significant amounts of water, thereby reducing strains on limited water resources.

“Until now, detailed knowledge on the role of renewable energy at the intersection of energy, food and water has been limited. But this first-of-its-kind report shows that in addition to enhancing energy security, improving air quality, reducing carbon emissions and creating jobs, greater deployment of existing renewable energy technology can also bolster water and food security.”