How will hydro-energy generation of the Nepalese Himalaya vary in the future? A climate change perspective

Bhattarai, Utsav and Devkota, Laxmi Prasad and Marahatta, Suresh and Shrestha, Dibesh and Maraseni, Tek ORCID: https://orcid.org/0000-0001-9361-1983 (2022) How will hydro-energy generation of the Nepalese Himalaya vary in the future? A climate change perspective. Environmental Research, 214 (1):113746. pp. 1-13. ISSN 0013-9351


Abstract

Despite being one of the proven clean-energy technologies, hydroelectricity is losing attention in global research. Hydroelectricity is extremely important for countries possessing the required water resources, already heavily reliant on it and those lacking the financial capacity to invest in other expensive energy technologies. This study assessed the possible impact of climate change (CC) on hydro-energy generation in the Nepalese Himalaya (possessing eight peaks out of 14 over 8000 m) with a tremendous hydropower potential (∼50,000 MW). A planned 1200 MW storage type Budhigandaki Hydroelectricity Project is taken as a case. We estimated the energy generation for the baseline as well as 10 CC scenarios considering RCPs 4.5 and 8.5 at monthly, seasonal, and annual temporal scales for the mid-century. Results show that energy generation is highly dependent on the reservoir operating rule. The average annual energy generation is expected to vary within −5 to +12% of the base case in the mid-century, with significant variations across the months. We also infer that designing hydro-projects based on ensembled climate values could lead to a “rosy” but less probable and risky picture of energy generation in the future. Therefore, assessment of a wide spectrum of plausible CC scenarios are recommended. Storage type projects with provision of flexible operating rules considering finer temporal resolution and allocation to competing users (in case of multipurpose projects) supported by appropriate policies are desirable for climate resiliency. Complementing the existing energy generation mix with other technologies in areas where hydroelectricity is expected to undergo adverse impacts of CC is warranted for attaining future energy security and environmental safeguarding. Possibility of additional energy due to CC is a strong motivation for this region to focus on hydroelectricity development in the future.


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Item Type: Article (Commonwealth Reporting Category C)
Refereed: Yes
Item Status: Live Archive
Additional Information: Files associated with this item cannot be displayed due to copyright restrictions.
Faculty/School / Institute/Centre: Current - Institute for Life Sciences and the Environment - Centre for Sustainable Agricultural Systems (1 Aug 2018 -)
Faculty/School / Institute/Centre: Current - Institute for Life Sciences and the Environment - Centre for Sustainable Agricultural Systems (1 Aug 2018 -)
Date Deposited: 05 Jul 2022 23:14
Last Modified: 17 Oct 2022 01:38
Uncontrolled Keywords: Hydroelectricity; Climate change; Nepalese Himalaya; Clean energy; Energy policy
Fields of Research (2020): 41 ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCES > 4101 Climate change impacts and adaptation > 410199 Climate change impacts and adaptation not elsewhere classified
Socio-Economic Objectives (2020): 18 ENVIRONMENTAL MANAGEMENT > 1803 Fresh, ground and surface water systems and management > 180399 Fresh, ground and surface water systems and management not elsewhere classified
Identification Number or DOI: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.envres.2022.113746
URI: http://eprints.usq.edu.au/id/eprint/49407

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