41 min

Averting water wars as we decarbonize Catalyst with Shayle Kann

    • Technology

Don’t miss our live episode of Climavores in New York City on October 20! Sign up here for a night of live audio and networking with top voices in climate journalism. 
We designed our power plants, refineries, and other energy infrastructure to depend on water. But not just any kind of water—water that’s available at the right quantity, quality, place and time. When water falls outside of this Goldilocks zone, energy systems can unravel, sometimes in unexpected ways. Low water levels strain hydroelectric and thermal power production and restrict coal shipments by river. Extreme cold freezes water in natural gas infrastructure, causing blackouts. Examples abound.
The irony is that the energy system fuels climate change, which in turn fuels water problems for the energy system. 
So how do we address these vulnerabilities as we decarbonize? And how can we build a resilient water-energy system in an increasingly chaotic climate?
In this episode, Shayle talks to Dr. Michael Webber, author of Thirst for Power: Energy, Water and Human Survival. Michael is a professor of energy resources at the University of Texas-Austin and chief technology officer at Energy Impact Partners, where Shayle is a partner. 
They cover topics like:

The surprising places we use water in energy, like extracting minerals and natural gas, growing crops for biofuels and sequestering carbon

The ways energy improves the quantity and quality of water, allowing us to move water longer distances, reach deeper wells and desalinate water

How to avoid exacerbating water problems as we decarbonize

Whether cheap, abundant electricity from nuclear fusion will power wide-spread desalination

Why the data on water systems is so scarce compared to energy systems

How prescient the new Mad Max water-war movies are

Resources:


Yale University Press: Thirst for Power: Energy, Water and Human Survival


The New York Times: Europe’s Scorching Summer Puts Unexpected Strain on Energy Supply


The New York Times: China’s Record Drought Is Drying Rivers and Feeding Its Coal Habit

 
Catalyst is a co-production of Post Script Media and Canary Media.
Catalyst is supported by Antenna Group. For 25 years, Antenna has partnered with leading clean-economy innovators to build their brands and accelerate business growth. If you're a startup, investor, enterprise, or innovation ecosystem that's creating positive change, Antenna is ready to power your impact. Visit antennagroup.com to learn more.
Solar Power International and Energy Storage International are returning in-person this year as part of RE+. Come join everyone in Anaheim for the largest, B2B clean energy event in North America. Catalyst listeners can receive 15% off a full conference, non-member pass using promo code CANARY15. Register here.

Don’t miss our live episode of Climavores in New York City on October 20! Sign up here for a night of live audio and networking with top voices in climate journalism. 
We designed our power plants, refineries, and other energy infrastructure to depend on water. But not just any kind of water—water that’s available at the right quantity, quality, place and time. When water falls outside of this Goldilocks zone, energy systems can unravel, sometimes in unexpected ways. Low water levels strain hydroelectric and thermal power production and restrict coal shipments by river. Extreme cold freezes water in natural gas infrastructure, causing blackouts. Examples abound.
The irony is that the energy system fuels climate change, which in turn fuels water problems for the energy system. 
So how do we address these vulnerabilities as we decarbonize? And how can we build a resilient water-energy system in an increasingly chaotic climate?
In this episode, Shayle talks to Dr. Michael Webber, author of Thirst for Power: Energy, Water and Human Survival. Michael is a professor of energy resources at the University of Texas-Austin and chief technology officer at Energy Impact Partners, where Shayle is a partner. 
They cover topics like:

The surprising places we use water in energy, like extracting minerals and natural gas, growing crops for biofuels and sequestering carbon

The ways energy improves the quantity and quality of water, allowing us to move water longer distances, reach deeper wells and desalinate water

How to avoid exacerbating water problems as we decarbonize

Whether cheap, abundant electricity from nuclear fusion will power wide-spread desalination

Why the data on water systems is so scarce compared to energy systems

How prescient the new Mad Max water-war movies are

Resources:


Yale University Press: Thirst for Power: Energy, Water and Human Survival


The New York Times: Europe’s Scorching Summer Puts Unexpected Strain on Energy Supply


The New York Times: China’s Record Drought Is Drying Rivers and Feeding Its Coal Habit

 
Catalyst is a co-production of Post Script Media and Canary Media.
Catalyst is supported by Antenna Group. For 25 years, Antenna has partnered with leading clean-economy innovators to build their brands and accelerate business growth. If you're a startup, investor, enterprise, or innovation ecosystem that's creating positive change, Antenna is ready to power your impact. Visit antennagroup.com to learn more.
Solar Power International and Energy Storage International are returning in-person this year as part of RE+. Come join everyone in Anaheim for the largest, B2B clean energy event in North America. Catalyst listeners can receive 15% off a full conference, non-member pass using promo code CANARY15. Register here.

41 min

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