For developing countries alone, it has been estimated that $103 billion per year are required to finance water, sanitation and wastewater treatment through 2015.
Between 2000 and 2010, electricity generation from wind grew by 27% and from solar PV by 42% per year on average.
Wind and solar power are expected to continue expand rapidly over the next 20 years.
photo by Steve Oliver Too
Between 1973 and 2010, world energy consumption increased by 186% and industry's use by 157%. However, about one-fifth of the world's population lacks access to electricity -with more than 95% of them located in sub-Saharan Africa and developing Asia- and roughly 2.6 billion use solid fuels (mainly biomass) for cooking. Sub-Saharan Africa is the least electrified of all major regions, with 57% of its population without access to electricity in 2011; it is the only region in which the absolute number of people without access to electricity is increasing.
Approximately 15–18 billion m3 of freshwater resources are contaminated by fossil fuel production every year.
Waterborne transit is one of the most energy efficient means of transport. Inland towing barges are more than three times more energy efficient than road trucks and 40% more efficient than rail. As transportation is one of the most energy intensive sectors in the urban context, increasing the use of waterways for passenger or goods transit can lead to substantial energy savings.
photo by Ian 1602
Wastewater contains energy in the form of potential energy, thermal energy and chemically bound energy, all of which can be harnessed and utilized. In the USA, there are 104 wastewater treatment plants using biogas to produce a total of 190 MW capacity. Wastewater is increasingly recognized as potential source of energy: in several countries, water supply companies are working towards becoming energy-neutral. It is estimated that more than 80% of used water worldwide -and up to 90% in developing countries- is neither collected nor treated, threatening human and environmental health.
photo by Chesapeake Bay Program
There are currently more than 16 000 desalination plants worldwide, with a total global operating capacity of roughly 70 million m3 per day. Desalination is the most energy-intensive water treatment technology: desalinated water involves the use of at least 75.2 TWh per year, which is about 0.4% of global electricity consumption. Member countries of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) are among the water poorest in the region, but thanks to their prodigious oil and gas reserves, they have the economic capacity to overcome water scarcity through desalination and to consume water at rates that are among the highest in the world.
photo by Glichfield
Energy is required for two components of water provision: pumping and treatment (before and after use). Electricity costs are estimated at 5% to 30% of the total operating cost of water and wastewater utilities, but in some developing countries such as India and Bangladesh, it is as high as 40% of the total operating cost.
Geothermal energy is climate independent, produces no GHG emissions, does not consume water, and its availability is infinite at human time scales.
photo by Sean Connors
The demand for agricultural feedstock for biofuels is the largest source of new demand for agricultural production in decades, and it was a major factor behind the 2007−2008 spike in world commodity prices.