Climate change threatens California Hydropower

California scientists who conducted the study of the effect of climate change on production, demand and price of hydropower, said he expects a significant change in the quantitative and temporal characteristics of the flow of water in the state. Because of the dry and hot climate state will receive less rainfall, with most of them in the form of rain, which significantly affect the operation of hydroelectric plants.

Climate change threatens California Hydropower

Distribution of hydropower in California.
On average, about 15% are in California produce hydroelectric power is a cheap and relatively clean source of energy. About 75% of high-yield energy stations, located at an altitude of 300 meters. The state has more than 150 such hydroelectric. They are located mainly in northern California and in the Sierra. Mountain reservoirs have relatively small size, because they are building exclusively for the production of electricity, but not for functions such as water supply and flood control.

Climate change threatens California Hydropower

In case of reduction of snow cover in California due to climate warming tanks mountain stations will not be able to accumulate a sufficient amount of water to generate electricity in the summer, when demand for electricity is the highest and the price for it is also high. Up to 20% of hydropower stations in California may be closed due to a drier climate, resulting in the loss of 8 to 18% of income for the operator.
Due to the warm climate of California requires more energy for cooling in the summer months than in the heating in the winter. The problem is that it is in the summer months, is expected to decline in hydroelectric power generation. It is important to pre-analyze effects of climate change on renewable energy sources in order to identify strategies that are appropriate to adapt to new climatic conditions, and therefore, to minimize potential adverse effects on the production of hydroelectricity.
Based on research conducted by the University of Florida by 150 high hydropower in California, developed a computer model that can predict the most suitable mode of stations in different regions. The new version of the program is also able to calculate the change in the price and demand for electricity under the influence of temperature changes in climate.
Advanced computer model will allow specialists at the same time expect changes in demand and supply of electricity. However, modeling has its limitations, and the model must be updated constantly with new data from researchers. Future research should focus on the environmental aspects of the problem. Changes in altitude hydropower should be taken only after careful consideration of the possible damage to the environment. California experience adapted to the dry climate, new hydropower can be useful in other parts of the world, where the warming also threatens the fullness of water reservoirs.

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