Energy and water form a critical nexus which will impact both the developed and developing world in the next century. Global climate change will place pressures on freshwater supplies as changing weather patterns alter fragile and often overstressed freshwater supply. Energy is critically linked to water resources because of the need for cooling water for conventional and nuclear power production as well as the use of water for hydropower, one of the only significant and reliable non-carbon emitting energy sources. As freshwater supplies are lost many countries and regions will be faced with a need to use energy intensive desalination technologies to provide basic water needs. The combined challenges of water and energy will define the basic needs of the 21st century.
This effort focuses on three key areas, obtaining data as an input to high resolution climate modeling, the evaluation of renewable energy resources and their ability to replace existing usage and the evaluation of technologies for increased efficiency for desalination systems. The demonstration of these systems takes the form of a resource monitoring station and energy usage monitoring systems which are being set up as a part of the middle school laptop program in Maine. The expansion of this to help individual and businesses make informed investment choices helps to ensure that scarce resources are deployed so that the can have the biggest impact on both mitigation of anthropogenic greenhouse gas emission as well as energy cost for the end user.