Marta Zaniolo was awarded the first prize of the Young Academics Award of the Alpine Convention on the topic of Sustainable water management in the Alps, for her Master thesis on Design and Application of basin customized drought indexes for highly regulated basins. The Alpine Convention is an international treaty between the Alpine Countries (Austria, France, Germany, Italy, Liechtenstein, Monaco, Slovenia and Switzerland) as well as the EU, for the sustainable development and protection of the Alps. During the 2-4 April XV Alpine Conference representatives of the public and private sector, NGO’s, students, experts and people from all across the Alps came together to discuss, exchange best practices and experiences, and take decisions on pressing Alpine issues. More information available HERE
We have recently visited the Ethiopian Ministry of Water, Irrigation, and Electricity in Addis Ababa to discuss preliminary results on the analysis of optimal development pathways for the Omo-Turkana basin, located across southern Ethiopia and northern Kenya. This almost pristine region has been in recent years a strategic target for Ethiopian governmental investments on dam development and agricultural expansion, aimed at achieving energy and food security for the country, and propelling Africa’s fastest growing economy. In our analysis, we adopt an integrated and participated approach, which assesses the impacts of different basin development pathways on governmental and local stakeholders of Ethiopia and Kenya, in order to promote environmental and economical sustainability, as well as social inclusiveness. This work is part of the EU funded DAFNE project, which aims at developing a Decision Analytic Framework to explore the water-energy-food nexus in complex transboundary water resource systems of fast developing countries.
Scientific literature has mostly focused on the analysis of climate change impacts on hydropower operations, underrating the consequences of energy policies, for example, increase in Variable Renewable Sources (VRSs) and CO2 emission permit price, on hydropower productivity and profitability. We contribute a modeling framework to assess the impacts of different climate change and energy policies on the operations of hydropower reservoir systems in the Alps. Our approach is characterized by the following: (i) the use of a physically explicit hydrological model to assess future water availability; (ii) the consideration of electricity price scenarios obtained from an electricity market model accounting for the future projected European energy strategies; and (iii) the use of optimization techniques to design hydropower system operations in response to the projected changes. Through the application to the Mattmark system, a snow‐ and ice‐dominated hydropower system in Switzerland, we demonstrate how the framework is effective in exploring the sensitivity of Alpine hydropower to changes in water availability and electricity price, in quantifying the uncertainties associated to these projections and in identifying the value of reoperation strategies. The paper is available open access HERE.