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A Methodology for the Assessment of Climate Change Effects on Hydropower

pubblicazioni - Memoria

A Methodology for the Assessment of Climate Change Effects on Hydropower

Among the issues that are most relevant in the study of climate change, hydropower plays a double role. On one hand, it will be affected by the change in water availability feeding hydropower plants. On the other hand, as the present major source of renewable energy, an effort must be performed in order to maintain or, if possible, increase hydropower production. The aim of this activity is the study of the impact of expected climate change and of future scenarios of energy demand evolution on reservoir management, in order to assess the variations in hydropower production and identify the possible changes in reservoir management. This activity is part of ACQWA project, a EU FP7 large scale integration project whose aim is the use of advanced modelling techniques to quantify the influence of climate change on the major determinants of river discharge and analyse their impact on society and economy. In particular, the work packages devoted to the study of the drivers of change and the development and application of regional climate models and hydrological models will provide high quality data about the expected water availability and the evolution of electric power demand. Our activity has been focused on the development of a model of the management of a complex hydropower system as a function of climate conditions and power demand. A conceptual scheme of the hydropower system in the case study, the Regione Valle d’Aosta, Italy, has been developed. Main hydroelectric reservoirs and hydropower plants has been identified, the topological structure of the system has been recognized and the hydraulic and electrical characteristics has been collected, together with the characterisation of present climate and present runoff in Valle d’Aosta. The management of the hydropower system has been computed by means of a simple optimisation tool and the expected variations in reservoir management and power production will be quantified through a comparison between optimisation results of present and future scenarios. At present only the present scenario has been completed.

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