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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


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