Alum addresses water-energy nexus in newly published study

A study published October 27, 2013, in the journal Nature Climate Change says global warming will make water scarcer in some places. The implication for coal power plants, which require a lot of water to operate, is that they could become obsolete in water-scarce areas, overtaken by renewable energy like wind and solar.

School of Sustainability alumnus Chris Harto (MS ’09) was a contributing author on the report, which was the first to account for water availability as well as emission-reductions in calculating the most economical mix of energy technologies. Harto, now an environmental and energy analyst at the Argonne National Laboratory, was quoted in a Christian Science Monitor article about the study.

“There's a rate at which nature provides water,” Harto says. “When you start bumping up against that limit, you start running into some significant conflicts.”