Powering the planet with water

The special link between water and energy

By Antoinette Price

On 22 March, World Water Day will be celebrated with the theme ‘Water and Sustainable Development’. Sustained economic, social and environmental well-being is not possible without water and its inextricable link to energy.

Marine energy
Marine energy

Water and energy go hand in hand

Water is used to produce energy, such as electricity, and energy is required to pump, use and treat water; they go hand in hand. Population growth and economic development are enabled through the harnessing of water for power and energy, which in turn is needed for good health, urbanization, industry, food production and the environment. Today the challenge is twofold: to have enough water for energy and enough energy for water.

Hydropower, or the renewable energy contained in flowing water, currently accounts for 16% of the world’s electricity production according to UN Water. In an age of global climate concerns, policymakers are re-evaluating their countries’ use of fossil fuels, while promoting a more renewable energy mix. Water continues to play a significant role in fulfilling global energy production requirements.

The work of several IEC Technical Committees (TCs) helps address this important need for increased global energy supplies, by developing processes to harness the power of water to produce electricity. IEC TC 4: Hydraulic turbines, prepares International Standards and reports for hydraulic rotating machinery and associated equipment allied with hydro-power development. They cover measurements for different machinery parts, performance and maintenance. IEC TC 114: Marine energy - Wave, tidal and other water current converters, develops International Standards for marine energy conversion systems. These focus primarily on conversion of wave, tidal and other water current energy into electrical energy, and consider the design and performance of marine energy converters for rivers and oceans.

Let it flow

The contribution of standardization is even more relevant in terms of future energy trends. According to the World Energy Outlook 2014, a report by the International Energy Agency, renewable energies, are expected to account for nearly half of the global increase in power generation to 2040, overtaking coal as the leading source of electricity. It also predicts that of the renewables, hydropower would account for the second largest share.

About World Water Day

First designated by the United Nations (UN) General Assembly in 1993, this global event is organized by UN members on behalf of, United Nations-Water, an inter-agency coordination mechanism for all freshwater and sanitation related matters.

Marine energy Marine Energy
Dam Hydropower
Water drop Water for energy