Hydropower's Quest for Resilience to fight climate change

The recent failure of the Nova Kakhovka dam in Ukraine highlights the challenges faced by hydroelectric dams worldwide in 2023 due to extreme weather conditions. While the Kakhovka dam experienced historically high water levels, many other hydro facilities have suffered from depleted water levels, limiting their electricity generation potential. This has led to a decline in hydro-powered electricity generation in Asia, Europe, and North America compared to the same period in 2022.

Key hydro producers such as China, the United States, India, Vietnam, and Turkey have witnessed output falls, contributing to a global decrease of nearly 4% in hydroelectricity generation during the opening quarter of 2023, as reported by Ember. The upcoming summer season may exacerbate the situation, with hot and dry conditions expected to further reduce hydro power production potential, adding strain to global power grids already struggling to meet rising demands.

Notably, major hydro producers like Norway, Sweden, France, Turkey, and Italy have collectively experienced an 8% decline in hydro output during the first quarter of 2023 compared to the previous year. While Turkey has been heavily impacted by an extended drought, Switzerland and Austria have recorded higher output levels compared to the previous year. These fluctuations in hydroelectricity generation pose challenges for ensuring a stable and reliable energy supply in affected regions.

Hydropower faces significant challenges when confronted with extreme weather conditions and drought. High water levels, as seen in the case of the Nova Kakhovka dam failure in Ukraine, can strain infrastructure and lead to breaches. On the other hand, droughts and depleted water levels reduce the capacity for hydroelectric dams to generate electricity, impacting their output and reliability. With hot and dry conditions becoming more prevalent due to climate change, the risk of reduced hydro power production increases, exacerbating the strain on global power grids and necessitating the need for diversification and resilience in the energy sector.

Complete information by Reuters HERE


Hydropower: Tapping into centuries of potential energy generation

Hydropower has a rich history dating back centuries, with Greeks using waterwheels to grind wheat. Today, we continue to harness the power of moving water to generate electricity, albeit with upgraded systems. Hydropower is considered "firm, dispatchable, clean electricity" as it produces minimal air pollution and greenhouse gas emissions, although damming rivers does have some environmental impacts. However, hydropower acts as a reliable water battery, providing electricity whenever needed, complementing other intermittent renewable sources like wind and solar.

The changing climate directly affects hydropower due to shifts in rainfall patterns. Water is not just important for cooling fossil fuel and nuclear power plants; it is the fuel for hydropower. Without an adequate water supply, the generation of hydropower becomes challenging. Nonetheless, there are exciting innovations and investments in harnessing energy from oceans through tidal and wave power. Additionally, advancements in pumped storage technology, such as utilizing abandoned mines as reservoirs, offer new possibilities for storing and releasing water to generate electricity.

As we explore these diverse ways to utilize water resources, both on land and in the oceans, hydropower continues to evolve and adapt. The ongoing development of innovative technologies and alternative approaches ensures that hydropower remains a significant contributor to our clean energy transition and helps us meet the challenges posed by a changing climate.

Read the complete news by Brightly: Watt’s Up With Hydropower? How We Can Harness Nature’s Energy Source for a Greener Future - Brightly