IRENA and IEA ETSAP Release Brief on Renewable Energy for Desalination
13 September 2012: The International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA), together with the International Energy Agency's (IEA) Energy Technology Systems Analysis Programme (ETSAP), has published a policy brief on trends in water desalinization. The brief emphasizes that, despite efficiency improvements to date, only 1% of the world's desalinated water is based on energy derived from renewable sources.
Noting that some regions have advantages for adopting renewable energy technologies for desalination, the policy brief suggests that potential efficiency improvements are regionally specific. The brief provides the example of desalination in desert regions, such as Middle East North Africa countries, which show a high potential for solar exploitation and concentrated solar power for thermal desalination. The brief provides the contrasting example that coastal and island states may increase their efficiency of exploitation by taking advantage of wind power in membrane desalination projects. It suggests that mapping both water needs and renewable energy sources is needed for any strategic planning for future desalination systems. The brief concludes that policy must take into account evolving market opportunities and long term impacts of technology options when planning sustainable water supply needs. [Publication: Water Desalination Using Renewable Energy]