Clean energy and water: assessment of Mexico for improved water services and renewable energy
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- Sanders, K.T., King, C.W., Stillwell, A.S. et al. Environ Dev Sustain (2013) 15: 1303. doi:10.1007/s10668-013-9441-5
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Vast natural resources and strained water supplies make Mexico a valuable geographic setting for studying the energy-water nexus. While Mexico has historically been a major oil producing country, it struggles with water stress, as much of its land area is experiencing or approaching physical water scarcity. Solving many of Mexico’s water issues will require energy for extracting, transporting, and treating water where it is needed most. Yet such energy use is not always possible since many people are not connected to an electricity grid or other decentralized energy infrastructure. In addition, a continuation of the almost decade-long trend of declining oil production and exports might reduce revenues and available energy to fund and operate new water systems. Consequently, there is an opportunity to improve water services through use of distributed renewable energy technologies that do not directly require fossil resources or large-scale infrastructure. Various policies and technologies are relevant to the energy-water nexus on a decentralized scale, which are covered in this manuscript. We use an integrated technology policy framework to assess the efficacy of integrating renewable energy and water systems in Mexico via case studies of technologies affecting energy-water policy objectives and choices. Particularly, important factors for technology development include consideration of performance parameters, cultural acceptance, willingness to pay, and financing.