Climate change or energy policies: What matters most for alpine hydropower? a new paper on WRR

wrcr23658-fig-0005Scientific 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.