- Global Competitiveness
- In the Field
China and India’s Demand For Coal Puts Water Supply At RiskOctober 2, 2012
A Bloomberg Businessweek report argues that Asia's most populous nations will have to reconsider energy projects to avoid conflicts between cities, farmers and industry.
India and China’s power industries have grown larger, seemingly at the cost of local water resources, a report in Bloomberg Businessweek concludes. The article claims the struggle for control of the world’s water centers around energy supply, since it is used in coal mining to remove impurities and transport the fuel through pipelines as slurry.
Bloomberg quotes the World Resources Institute saying that more than half of existing and planned power plants by the biggest publicly traded companies in India and Southeast Asia are in areas that are likely to face water shortages.
China and India, the article says, account for more than 60 percent of the world’s coal-fired power plants on the drawing boards by 2035. Chinese energy industry consumption of water will be second only to the country’s farmers.
The article quotes Peter C. Evans, director for global strategy and planning at GE, the biggest maker of power-plant turbines, saying utilities “assume the water is there,” and that companies “actually will not be able to build as many coal plants as the projections suggest.”
In a blog post for World Resources Institute Robert Kimball wrote that governments and other decision makers need to plan projects for electric power generation in ways that account for their countries’ resources.
GE, Bloomberg reports, is developing a global model to better understand the power sector’s water consumption, while GE, Goldman Sachs, and Bloomberg, are funding a World Resources Institute project to release maps that show industry-specific water risks.