Life Cycle Water Consumption Embodied in Inter-Provincial Electricity Transmission in China
Posted: 28 Jun 2019 Last revised: 2 Aug 2019
Date Written: June 27, 2019
The interdependence between water and energy is growing significant accompany with the increasing demand on both water and energy in China. It is crucial to quantify the water footprints and total water consumption embodied in the energy sector of production and transmission for improving effective of water resource management and policy making. From the life-cycle perspective, water consumptions in the thermal, hydro-, nuclear, wind and solar power generation are quantified using a mixed-unit input-output model. Then, the water footprint (WF) and scare water footprint (SWF) in the electricity transmissions were analyzed in China. As the results shown, the WF totaled was 2.99Í109(Gm3) in 2013, and the WF in upstream phase accounted for 12.47%. It is also revealed that total inter-provincial WF from thermal, hydro-, nuclear, wind and solar power contributed 28.87%, 71.02%, 0.03%, 0.08% and 0.01% to the total, respectively. At the provincial level, Inner Mongolia is the largest exports of thermal and wind WFs, and Sichuan, Guangdong and Gansu are the largest exporters of hydro-, nuclear and solar WFs. Based on Water Stress Index, Shanxi (92.3 million m3), Gansu (90.9 million m3) and Inner Mongolia (65.4 million m3) rank the top three provinces for the exporters of SWF. The top three largest single SWF flows are from Shanxi to Hebei (72.2 million m3), Ningxia to Shandong (35.8 million m3) and Gansu to Qinghai (40.68 million m3). In the foreseeable future, electricity transmission in China will be dominated by transferring from West to East, and the ongoing long-distance electricity transmission projects in China will enlarge the scale of SWF outflows from northwestern regions and potentially increase their water stress. The water-energy nexus requires strategic and coordinated implementations of different energy development among geographical regions, as well as trade-off analysis between rising energy demand and water use sustainability.
Keywords: water footprint, water-energy nexus, life cycle analysis, input-output model, network analysis
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