Wind power plays a major role in helping the EU save vast amounts of water used by power stations used to generate energy, a new report claims.
The European Wind Energy Association (EWEA) calculated out of all the water used directly and indirectly in the EU, the highest amount (44%) is used in power production – 4.5 billion cubic metres a year – primarily to cool thermal or nuclear power plants.
The EWEA argues that renewable energy has huge potential in reducing water use, estimating that wind power avoided the use of 1.2 billion cubic metres of water across the EU in 2012 – resulting in financial savings of €2.4 billion (£2bn).
Wind turbines however use barely any water, it claims, expect a little is needed to cool generators and occasionally clean blades.
The EWEA is calling on EU governments to promote higher water efficiency standards and take it into account when designing future energy policies, move away from water-intensive technologies like thermal power plants to renewable energy as well as promote adequate pricing of water usage.
It estimates that by 2030, wind energy could avoid between 4.3 billion and 6.4 billion of water – saving between €11.8 billion (£9.9bn) and €17.4 billion (£14.6bn).