Saturday, August 8, 2009

Using electricity means using water

Using coal to generate electricity consumes huge amounts of water. The five coal-fired power stations in the La Trobe valley use the equivalent to more than a quarter of Melbourne's annual water consumption. And clean-coal technologies (carbon capture and storage) consume even more water.

Coal is the elephant in the room for Australia's greenhouse reduction/consumption. Most of our coal is exported (some 75%) and the rest is burnt to make electricity or in the making of steel. That burning produces a little over 42% of our greenhouse gas emissions.

Coal is our largest commodity export and is worth $24 billion, and Australia is the world's largest exporter of coal.

It's a big elephant.

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