Water Security Implications of Coal-Fired Power Plants Financed Through China’s Belt and Road Initiative
Energy Policy, 2019
38 Pages Posted: 24 Jul 2019
Date Written: July 1, 2019
As the world’s largest proposed infrastructure program, China’s Belt and Road Initiative will have significant implications for water security, sustainability, and the future of energy generation in Asia. Pakistan, a keystone of the Belt and Road Initiative, presents an ideal case for assessing the impacts of the Initiative’s energy financing. We estimate the future water demands of seven new Chinese-financed, coal-fired power plants in Pakistan with a total capacity of 6600 MW. While these facilities may help address Pakistan’s energy shortages, our results indicate that by 2055, climate change-induced water stress in Pakistan will increase by 36–92% compared to current levels, and the power plants’ new water demands will amount to ~79.68 million m3. Our findings highlight the need for China and the Belt and Road Initiative’s destination countries to integrate resilience and sustainability efforts into energy infrastructure planning. Policy recommendations are offered to permit both sustainable development and responsible water resource management.
Keywords: sustainability, Belt and Road Initiative, water-energy nexus, water resources, water security, coal, CPEC, energy
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