Energy-Water Nexus Relevant to Baseload Electricity Source Including Mini/Micro Hydropower Generation
Wednesday, 17 December 2014: 11:20 AM
Water, food and energy is three sacred treasures that are necessary for human beings. However, recent factors such as population growth and rapid increase in energy consumption have generated conflicting cases between water and energy. For example, there exist conflicts caused by enhanced energy use, such as between hydropower generation and riverine ecosystems and service water, between shale gas and ground water, between geothermal and hot spring water. This study aims to provide quantitative guidelines necessary for capacity building among various stakeholders to minimize water-energy conflicts in enhancing energy use. Among various kinds of renewable energy sources, we target baseload sources, especially focusing on renewable energy of which installation is required socially not only to reduce CO2 and other greenhouse gas emissions but to stimulate local economy. Such renewable energy sources include micro/mini hydropower and geothermal. Three municipalities in Japan, Beppu City, Obama City and Otsuchi Town are selected as primary sites of this study. Based on the calculated potential supply and demand of micro/mini hydropower generation in Beppu City, for example, we estimate the electricity of tens through hundreds of households is covered by installing new micro/mini hydropower generation plants along each river. However, the result is based on the existing infrastructures such as roads and electric lines. This means that more potentials are expected if the local society chooses options that enhance the infrastructures to increase micro/mini hydropower generation plants. In addition, further capacity building in the local society is necessary. In Japan, for example, regulations by the river law and irrigation right restrict new entry by actors to the river. Possible influences to riverine ecosystems in installing new micro/mini hydropower generation plants should also be well taken into account. Deregulation of the existing laws relevant to rivers and further incentives for business owners of micro/mini hydropower generation along with current feed-in tariff are required if our society choose an option to enhance the renewable energy.