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

See all articles by Meir Alkon

Meir Alkon

Princeton University - Department of Political Science

Xiaogang He

Princeton University

Aubrey Paris

Princeton University

Wenying Liao

Princeton University

Thomas Hodson

Princeton University

Niko Wanders

Utrecht University

Yaoping Wang

Ohio State University (OSU)

Date Written: July 1, 2019

Abstract

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

Suggested Citation

Alkon, Meir and He, Xiaogang and Paris, Aubrey and Liao, Wenying and Hodson, Thomas and Wanders, Niko and Wang, Yaoping, Water Security Implications of Coal-Fired Power Plants Financed Through China’s Belt and Road Initiative (July 1, 2019). Energy Policy, 2019. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3424419

Meir Alkon (Contact Author)

Princeton University - Department of Political Science ( email )

Corwin Hall
Princeton, NJ 08544-1013
United States

Xiaogang He

Princeton University ( email )

22 Chambers Street
Princeton, NJ 08544-0708
United States

Aubrey Paris

Princeton University ( email )

22 Chambers Street
Princeton, NJ 08544-0708
United States

Wenying Liao

Princeton University ( email )

22 Chambers Street
Princeton, NJ 08544-0708
United States

Thomas Hodson

Princeton University ( email )

22 Chambers Street
Princeton, NJ 08544-0708
United States

Niko Wanders

Utrecht University ( email )

Vredenburg 138
Utrecht, 3511 BG
Netherlands

Yaoping Wang

Ohio State University (OSU) ( email )

Blankenship Hall-2010
901 Woody Hayes Drive
Columbus, OH OH 43210
United States

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