Water utilities are challenged to reliably produce and distribute safe, drinkable water to the communities they serve. It’s an energy-intensive process to accomplish this. In a North America Clean Energy article, How the Shift to Distributed Energy Resources Impacts the Water-Power-Carbon Nexus, Emerson’s Jason Blackburn shares how:
…two major challenges—water scarcity and water quality—are impacting access to clean, plentiful water. While the severity of these challenges varies by location, it is clear that both demand more efficient use of our resources.
Jason opens by highlighting how:
…energy is used, generated, and embedded in the water cycle, known as the water-energy-carbon nexus, is being tested by the impacts of cleaner power generation, evolving and more stringent regulations, climate change, and population growth.
The water cycle from production through distribution and wastewater processing is highly energy intensive.
In fact, 20 percent of California’s electricity and more than 30 percent of its natural gas goes to water utilities.
With the need for energy for reliable & resilient service:
…water treatment facilities are looking for new ways to ensure a plentiful, clean water supply. One solution has come to the forefront: microgrids.
Jason notes that microgrids are decentralized and self-sufficient energy systems.
Built within a water utility’s complex and tapped into multiple energy sources, including renewable options like solar and wind, microgrids are creating opportunities for water organizations to reduce their power costs and increase opportunities to leverage natural and clean energy sources.
A digital strategy using a scalable automation platform with intelligent software can seamlessly integrate systems from all levels of a power and/ or water enterprise. In doing so, it contributes to the viability of integrated management of the water-energy-carbon nexus that, through reduced emissions and increased energy and water security, can help our cities and communities with their sustainability efforts.
Read the article for more on the importance of managing these distributed energy sources with the entire grid to provide robust and reliable energy to provide the community with robust and reliable water supply.