It often takes water, and huge amounts of it, to generate electricity and to extract and produce fuel. Nuclear, coal, natural gas, biofuel creation, solar thermal, and fracking are among the worst offenders. The International Energy Agency says this water use could double by 2035, even as water gets scarcer in many areas. Emphasis added.
It’s an easily forgotten necessity of energy production: the billions of cubic meters (BCM) of freshwater that is necessary for cooling, irrigating, fracking, and other uses. This is water that is not returned to the water basin for future use — it’s temporarily lost to evaporation, consumption, or pollution.
Wind and photovoltaic solar use the least amounts of water, practically none at all, which is all the more reason to go to these clean, water-sipping sources of renewable energy.