According to a new study by Finland’s LUT University, solar PV consumes between 2% and 15% of the water that coal and nuclear power plants use to produce just 1 MWh of output; for wind, this percentage ranges from 0.1% to 14%. Under the researchers’ best policy scenario, water consumption could be reduced by 75.1% by 2030, compared to 2015 levels.
A team of researchers modeled the country’s energy future, finding that the drought plagued municipalities could benefit massively from large scale renewables deployment. The current reliance on coal-fired power stations causes immense water consumption, worsening the problem.
Electrifying the global energy system with clean energy is the only way to reach the targets set by the Paris agreement on climate change and avoid the catastrophic scenarios outlined by the recent IPCC report. In an interview with pv magazine, Christian Breyer – Professor of Solar Economy at Finland’s Lappeenranta University of Technology – explains a 100% renewables model is not only technically feasible, but also the cheapest and safest option. With solar and storage at its core, the future energy system envisaged by Breyer and his team will not only stop coal, but also nuclear and fossil gas, while seeing solar reach a share of around 70% of power consumption by 2050. By that time, PV technology could cost a third of its current price.
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