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APE participates in the debate on “The Blue Deal: Water as a Source of Energy”

On 16 May, APE participated in the debate on "The Blue Deal: Water as a Source of Energy." We highlighted the dual role of water in energy production and consumption, advocating for local-level initiatives and integrated projects. We emphasized the need for regulatory support, comprehensive and multi-sectoral policies, and improved water sector efficiency.

EU Blue Deal 16 MAY

On 16 May 2024, APE was invited to share views at the debate on “The Blue Deal: water as a source of energy”, which was co-organised by the commissions on Transport, Energy, Infrastructure and the Information Society and on Industrial Change of the European Economic and Social Committee.

During the debate we argued that the water-energy nexus can be both a resource and a challenge to address. On the one hand, from heat recovery to biogas production, water can be an important source of energy. These opportunities are best seized at local level, through bottom-up initiatives promoting integrated energy-water projects, that are adapted to local conditions (as water is and will remain a context-dependent resource). A lot of projects are already going on; their further upscale and mainstream require a conducive regulatory and financing framework.

On the other hand, water sector needs significant amount of energy to transport and depollute water, and the energy sector probably needs even greater amounts of water to function. Striking the right balance to satisfy societal needs for both these essential resources require comprehensive and multi-sectoral policies. The water sector certainly needs to step up efforts on efficiency. But the energy sector, and all the productive sectors also need to become more water-efficient. For this reason, we call for a water-related impact assessment for all new EU sector policies.

Also, the water-energy equation cannot be really solved without factoring in water pollution. The more the water is polluted the more energy will be needed to make it drinkable or not harmful for the environment. Control at source of water pollution is key to ensure universal access to water (and energy).

Finally, we argued that the financing framework needs to evolve to take better into account the multi-benefits nature of water-energy projects. Assessing projects on their expected water efficiency or energy efficiency gains is and will remain important for financing decisions but will no longer be enough. Resilience, that is the potential of a project of a project of ensuring a long-term environmental sustainability as well as our collective security (against climate change but also against dependency on extra-EU actors) should be become a central criterium of financial institutions for their portfolio (and, unfortunately, the current Taxonomy criteria are still to centered on a strict efficiency-only approach).