Enel Says 99% of Water It Uses for Power Returns to Environment

Enel SpA, Italy’s largest power company, said water and energy are so interlinked now that the utility returns 99 percent of the water it uses to the environment.

“The relation between water and energy is becoming more and more relevant in a water-constrained world,” Andrea Valcalda said today at a forum in Brussels. “You need water for energy production -- mainly for cooling in thermal generation -- and of course for hydropower generation.

‘‘These are both valuable and clean ways to generate power which use and return water to the environment,’’ the head of Rome-based Enel’s environment unit said, according to a company e-mail. ‘‘You also need power and energy for water distribution in the supply chain, from extraction to treatment.’’

Energy’s future ‘‘depends on ample water,” said Brooke Barton, director of the Ceres Water Program. “Companies like Enel have a direct business interest in ensuring that rivers and watersheds are well-managed and protected.’’ With climate change and water scarcity, the power industry and investors ‘‘would be wise to invest in generation technologies that both minimize exposure to water risks and lay the foundation for a low-carbon economy,” Barton said in an Enel website statement.

Noting the International Energy Agency for the first time in last year’s World Energy Outlook had a chapter on water and energy’s relationship, ‘‘at Enel we return to the environment over 99 percent of the water we use,’’ Valcalda said.

With 98 gigawatts of installed capacity in 40 countries, Enel used 23 billion cubic meters of water in its global operations, Valcalda said. Of this, the group consumed 192 million cubic meters of water, ‘‘which is what isn’t returned to the environment’’ and less than 1 percent of water used, he said today at the Enel-Ceres forum on water risks and power.

‘‘Only 6 percent of the electricity we generate comes from water-stressed areas but we are committed to do even better,’’ Valcalda said.

Before it's here, it's on the Bloomberg Terminal.