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Climate Change Impacts on Hydropower Management


Climate change affects hydropower production by modifying total annual inflow volumes and their seasonal distribution. Moreover, increasing air temperatures impact electricity consumption and, as a consequence, electricity prices. All together, these phenomena may lead to a loss in revenue. We show that an adequate management of hydropower plants mitigates these losses. These results are obtained by resorting to an interdisciplinary approach integrating hydrology, economy and hydropower management in an interdependent quantitative model.

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  4. Historical air temperatures are provided by MeteoSuisse.

  5. For implementation details see Gilli et al. (2011).


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This study was carried out within the frame of the Swiss research programme 61 ( We are grateful to the Versuchsanstalt für Wasserbau, Hydrologie und Glaziologie, in particular, Martin Funk, Andreas Bauder and Jeannette Gabbi for providing hydrological data and essential information. We also thank Force Motrices de Mauvoisin for the reservoir management data and sharing their expertise. The ENSEMBLES data used in this work was funded by the EU FP6 Integrated Project ENSEMBLES (Contract number 505539). Martin Beniston and Stephan Goyette provided valuable scientific input and Christophe Etienne and Denis Cohen proofread an earlier version of the paper.

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Correspondence to Ludovic Gaudard.

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Gaudard, L., Gilli, M. & Romerio, F. Climate Change Impacts on Hydropower Management. Water Resour Manage 27, 5143–5156 (2013).

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  • Climate change
  • Hydropower management
  • Electricity market
  • Switzerland