Groundwater and a changing energy sector

Bricker, Stephanie; Macdonald, David. 2010 Groundwater and a changing energy sector. Water & Sewerage Journal, 4 (2). 43-44.

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As the UK moves towards lower-carbon energy production, sources such as nuclear power and renewable energy have gained more importance as have approaches that capture and store the carbon from fossil fuel power stations. This move is required to reduce the UK’s emissions of greenhouse gases (GHGs), enforced by the Energy Act (2008) and climate change policy. The lower carbon technologies, although essential to reduce the emission of GHGs, can have their own environmental impacts. A resource which has already seen both the direct and indirect impact of these technologies is groundwater. Groundwater contributes 27% of overall public water supply in the UK, rising to over 75% in areas of the south-east of England. It also helps to sustain our lowland rivers and wetland ecology. The importance of groundwater is only likely to increase in the future as its buffering capacity should help to reduce the impact of extended dry periods that may result from climate change. As well as being impacted by changes in energy production, groundwater bearing rocks, which provide a source and a sink for heat, can also contribute directly to the provision of renewable energy via geothermal technology. Here we identify the role that groundwater can play in achieving the Government’s low carbon transition plan but also address the detrimental impacts on groundwater and dependent ecosystems that may arise as a result of these technologies.

Item Type: Publication - Article
Programmes: BGS Programmes 2010 > Groundwater Science
Additional Information. Not used in RCUK Gateway to Research.: This article available for free download from URL above
Additional Keywords: GroundwaterBGS, Groundwater, Groundwater resources, Geothermal energy
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Date made live: 23 Feb 2011 13:38 +0 (UTC)

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