Water is an important part of the energy mix

This image, from August 2022, shows a stretch of the Rhine in Germany, which plays an important role in transporting goods such as coal.

Christoph Reichwein | Image Union | beautiful pictures

According to the CEO of a leading gas infrastructure company, the link between energy production and water is of vital importance and we need to appreciate this resource even more in the future.

Comments from Snam CEO Stefano Venier come at the time connection between water and energy security has fallen into sharp decline after a period of high temperatures and severe drought in Europe.

“For a long time, water was considered [as being] Venier told CNBC’s Steve Sedgwick at the Ambrosetti Forum in Italy.

“Now, we are finding that with climate change… water can become scarce,” added Venier, who spoke last weekend.

“And we must regain a sense of importance and value [that] … Water also has, related to… energy production. “

Expanding on his point, Venier noted that “we’ve found that without water, enough water, we can’t produce the energy we need or we can’t transport the fuel to fill power plants.”

With the water levels of some of Europe’s major rivers falling in recent months, there have been concerns about how this will affect the supply of energy sources such as coal, a type of fuel. fossil.

In early August, for example, Uniper – through the European Energy Exchange’s transparent platform – said “unusual activity is possible” at two of its thermal coal plants, Datteln 4 and Staudinger 5.

This was, according to the report, “due to the limited availability of coal in situ due to the low water level of the Rhine.”

The relationship between water energy

Venier’s comment speaks to broader discussions surrounding the water-energy relationship, a phrase that refers to the close connection between water and energy.

With the world’s major economies planning to gradually move away from fossil fuels to use renewable energy, we are likely to see more discussions on this topic, especially in the near future. relationship between energy, water and climate

As the International Energy Agency put it: “Power supply depends on water. Water supply depends on energy.”

It adds: “The interdependence of water and energy will increase in the coming years, with important implications for both energy and water security.”

“Each resource faces increasing requirements and constraints in many regions due to economic growth, population growth and climate change.”

This connection has been emphasized in recent months, particularly in Europe.

Earlier this summer, for example, a Swiss nuclear power plant reduce its output to prevent the cold river from reaching temperatures dangerous to marine life.

At that time, the international unit of the Swiss Broadcasting Corporation, citing the country’s public broadcaster SRF, said the Beznau nuclear power plant had “temporarily scaled back” to prevent the temperature of the Aare River from rising “to a level that endangers fish.” These restrictions have been lifted.

Elsewhere, government ministers in Norway, which relies heavily on domestic hydroelectricity, spoke of limiting exports due to lower reservoir water levels, according to Reuters.

All of this is happening at a time when many of Europe’s major economies are scrambling to find new sources of energy following Russia’s gratuitous invasion of Ukraine.

Back at the Ambrosetti Forum, Venier of Snam was asked about Europe’s energy security, and whether we see Italy and Europe more generally, extracting gas resources from other parts of the world. .

“That’s the direction the government has set, the EU has set… REPowerEU and what we’re working on at Snam,” he said.

“In the past few months, we have purchased two floating vessels for LNG refueling,” he added. “Those two ships will be commissioned – one next year and the second in 2024.”

This will “open up, of course… new markets like West Africa or other parts of the world that can supply gas,” Venier said.

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