skip to main content


Title: Water for electricity in India: A multi-model study of future challenges and linkages to climate change mitigation

This paper provides projections of water withdrawals and consumption for electricity generation in India through 2050. Based on the results from five energy-economic modeling teams, the paper explores the implications of economic growth, power plant cooling policies, and electricity CO 2 emissions reductions on water withdrawals and consumption. To understand how different modeling approaches derive different results for energy-water interactions, the five teams used harmonized assumptions regarding economic and population growth, the distribution of power plants by cooling technologies, and withdrawals and consumption intensities. The multi-model study provides robust results regarding the different but potentially complementary implications of cooling technology policies and efforts to reduce CO 2 emissions. The water implications of CO 2 emissions reductions depend critically on the approach to these reductions. Focusing on wind and solar power reduces consumption and withdrawals, a focus on nuclear power increases both, and a focus on hydroelectric power could increase consumptive losses through evaporation. Policies focused specifically on cooling water can have substantial and complementary impacts.
 [1] ; ORCiD logo [2] ;  [3] ;  [4] ;  [5] ;  [2] ;  [2] ;  [2] ;  [1] ;  [3] ;  [2] ;  [4] ;  [1] ;  [5]
  1. Centre for Study of Science, Technology, and Policy, Bangalore (India)
  2. Joint Global Change Research Inst., College Park, MD (United States)
  3. Council on Energy, Environment and Water, New Delhi (India)
  4. Integrated Research and Action for Development, New Delhi (India)
  5. The Energy and Resources Inst., New Delhi (India)
Publication Date:
Report Number(s):
Journal ID: ISSN 0306-2619; PII: S0306261917304725
Grant/Contract Number:
Accepted Manuscript
Journal Name:
Applied Energy
Additional Journal Information:
Journal Volume: 210; Journal ID: ISSN 0306-2619
Research Org:
Pacific Northwest National Lab. (PNNL), Richland, WA (United States)
Sponsoring Org:
Country of Publication:
United States
29 ENERGY PLANNING, POLICY, AND ECONOMY; India; electricity generation; water withdrawals; water consumption; emissions
OSTI Identifier: