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Table 1

Summary of relevant studies assessing climate change impacts on hydropower production

StudyModels/scenarios usedLocationKey results
Vicuña et al. (2011)  VIC model; LP optimization model; six GCMs under A2 and B1 emission scenarios The Upper American River Project (UARP) and the Big Creek System, California, USA 
  • Increase in temperature

  • Decrease in precipitation

  • The average system power capacity in August (peak time) is reduced by a maximum of 0.6%

 
USDOE (2013)  VIC model; GCM: CCSM3; RCM: RegCM3; A1B emission scenario Four of the Power Marketing Administration regions (Bonneville, Southeastern Area, Western Area, Southwestern Area), USA 
  • Increase in temperature

  • Changes in precipitation pattern

  • Increase in energy production for Bonneville, Western Area and Southeastern Area

  • Energy generation reduction for Southwestern Area

 
Maran et al. (2014)  TOPKAPI model; SOLARIS; GCM: ECHAM; RCMs: REMO and RegCM; A1B emission scenario The Valle d'Aosta Hydropower System, Italy 
  • Expected changes in the precipitation pattern

  • A statistically significant decrease in overall hydropower production: 10% of the annual production of the whole system (equivalent to 200 GWh)

 
Ravazzani et al. (2016)  FEST-WB model; BPMPD solver; GCM: ECHAM5; RCMs: REMO and RegCM3; A1B emission scenario Toce River Basin, Italy 
  • Increase of temperature

  • Increase of mean annual precipitation

  • Increase in hydropower production (11–19%)

 
Oyerinde et al. (2016)  IHACRES; ARMAX; eight GCMs; RCM: SMHI-RCA; RCP 4.5 and RCP 8.5 emission scenarios Kainji Hydroelectric Dam, Niger Basin, West Africa 
  • Increase in temperature

  • Increase in precipitation

  • Increase in PET

  • Increase in hydropower production

 
Hamududu & Killingtveit (2016)  HBV model; nMAG; five GCMs; ESD; A1B and B2 emission scenarios Kwanza River Basin, Angola 
  • Increase in temperature

  • For precipitation: a decrease in the 2020s, and then an increase towards the end of the 21st century

  • Increase in inter-annual variability of precipitation

  • Increase in hydropower production in the basin by up to 10%

 
Lobanova et al. (2016)  SWIM model; ISI-MIP; RCP 4.5 and RCP 8.5 emission scenarios Tagus River Basin, 3 hydropower reservoirs in Spain and Portugal 
  • Decrease in inflows to reservoirs

  • Strong decrease in hydropower production in all three reservoirs (10–60%)

 
Spalding-Fecher et al. (2017)  WEAP; LEAP; SSPs emission scenarios Zambezi River Basin, southern Africa 
  • Energy production reduction by about 10–20% under a drying climate

  • Only marginal increases in generation with a plausible wetting climate

 
Turner et al. (2017)  WaterGAP; three GCMs under A2 and B1 emission scenarios Global 
  • Energy production responds non-linearly to climate change

  • The Balkans region emerges as most vulnerable to power production losses

  • A significant increase in total electrical production in a handful of countries in Scandinavia and Central Asia

 
Forrest et al. (2018)  VIC model; four GCMs under RCP 4.5 and RCP 8.5 emission scenarios California, USA 
  • Temporal shift in runoff and hydropower generation

  • Increased chance of reservoir spillage and lost generation potential due to increase in winter and spring runoffs

  • Decrease in spinning reserve bidding potential

 
Hasan & Wyseure (2018)  SWAT; three climate change scenarios for the future period (2045–2065) Rio Jubones Basin, Ecuador 
  • Changes in seasonal flow regimes

  • Changes in hydropower potential

  • Wet season: increase in rainfall, streamflow and hydropower generation

  • Dry season: decrease in rainfall, streamflow and hydropower generation

 
Meng et al. (2020)  PRC-GLOBWB model; four GCMs under RCP 2.6 and RCP 6.0 emission scenarios and global warming levels of 1.5 and 2 °C Sumatra, Indonesia 
  • Positive impacts on hydropower generation under both global warming levels

  • Higher hydropower generation under global warming of 1.5 °C

  • Higher reduction in CO2 emissions under global warming of 1.5 °C

 
Qin et al. (2020)  SWAT; five GCMs under RCP 2.6, RCP 4.5 and RCP 8.5 emission scenarios The Three Gorges Reservoir, China 
  • Increase in precipitation

  • Increase in mean annual inflow (3.3–15.2%)

  • Increase in mean annual hydropower generation (0.9–8.1%)

 
This study HEC-HMS; WEAP and energy module; GCMs: HadCM3, CGCM3 and CanESM2; SDSM; A2, B2, RCP 2.6, RCP 4.5 and RCP 8.5 emission scenarios Seimareh Dam and Hydropower Plant, Iran 
  • Increase in temperature

  • Decrease in precipitation

  • Decrease in Seimareh Dam inflow (5.2–13.4%)

  • Decrease in energy production (8.4–16.3%)

 
StudyModels/scenarios usedLocationKey results
Vicuña et al. (2011)  VIC model; LP optimization model; six GCMs under A2 and B1 emission scenarios The Upper American River Project (UARP) and the Big Creek System, California, USA 
  • Increase in temperature

  • Decrease in precipitation

  • The average system power capacity in August (peak time) is reduced by a maximum of 0.6%

 
USDOE (2013)  VIC model; GCM: CCSM3; RCM: RegCM3; A1B emission scenario Four of the Power Marketing Administration regions (Bonneville, Southeastern Area, Western Area, Southwestern Area), USA 
  • Increase in temperature

  • Changes in precipitation pattern

  • Increase in energy production for Bonneville, Western Area and Southeastern Area

  • Energy generation reduction for Southwestern Area

 
Maran et al. (2014)  TOPKAPI model; SOLARIS; GCM: ECHAM; RCMs: REMO and RegCM; A1B emission scenario The Valle d'Aosta Hydropower System, Italy 
  • Expected changes in the precipitation pattern

  • A statistically significant decrease in overall hydropower production: 10% of the annual production of the whole system (equivalent to 200 GWh)

 
Ravazzani et al. (2016)  FEST-WB model; BPMPD solver; GCM: ECHAM5; RCMs: REMO and RegCM3; A1B emission scenario Toce River Basin, Italy 
  • Increase of temperature

  • Increase of mean annual precipitation

  • Increase in hydropower production (11–19%)

 
Oyerinde et al. (2016)  IHACRES; ARMAX; eight GCMs; RCM: SMHI-RCA; RCP 4.5 and RCP 8.5 emission scenarios Kainji Hydroelectric Dam, Niger Basin, West Africa 
  • Increase in temperature

  • Increase in precipitation

  • Increase in PET

  • Increase in hydropower production

 
Hamududu & Killingtveit (2016)  HBV model; nMAG; five GCMs; ESD; A1B and B2 emission scenarios Kwanza River Basin, Angola 
  • Increase in temperature

  • For precipitation: a decrease in the 2020s, and then an increase towards the end of the 21st century

  • Increase in inter-annual variability of precipitation

  • Increase in hydropower production in the basin by up to 10%

 
Lobanova et al. (2016)  SWIM model; ISI-MIP; RCP 4.5 and RCP 8.5 emission scenarios Tagus River Basin, 3 hydropower reservoirs in Spain and Portugal 
  • Decrease in inflows to reservoirs

  • Strong decrease in hydropower production in all three reservoirs (10–60%)

 
Spalding-Fecher et al. (2017)  WEAP; LEAP; SSPs emission scenarios Zambezi River Basin, southern Africa 
  • Energy production reduction by about 10–20% under a drying climate

  • Only marginal increases in generation with a plausible wetting climate

 
Turner et al. (2017)  WaterGAP; three GCMs under A2 and B1 emission scenarios Global 
  • Energy production responds non-linearly to climate change

  • The Balkans region emerges as most vulnerable to power production losses

  • A significant increase in total electrical production in a handful of countries in Scandinavia and Central Asia

 
Forrest et al. (2018)  VIC model; four GCMs under RCP 4.5 and RCP 8.5 emission scenarios California, USA 
  • Temporal shift in runoff and hydropower generation

  • Increased chance of reservoir spillage and lost generation potential due to increase in winter and spring runoffs

  • Decrease in spinning reserve bidding potential

 
Hasan & Wyseure (2018)  SWAT; three climate change scenarios for the future period (2045–2065) Rio Jubones Basin, Ecuador 
  • Changes in seasonal flow regimes

  • Changes in hydropower potential

  • Wet season: increase in rainfall, streamflow and hydropower generation

  • Dry season: decrease in rainfall, streamflow and hydropower generation

 
Meng et al. (2020)  PRC-GLOBWB model; four GCMs under RCP 2.6 and RCP 6.0 emission scenarios and global warming levels of 1.5 and 2 °C Sumatra, Indonesia 
  • Positive impacts on hydropower generation under both global warming levels

  • Higher hydropower generation under global warming of 1.5 °C

  • Higher reduction in CO2 emissions under global warming of 1.5 °C

 
Qin et al. (2020)  SWAT; five GCMs under RCP 2.6, RCP 4.5 and RCP 8.5 emission scenarios The Three Gorges Reservoir, China 
  • Increase in precipitation

  • Increase in mean annual inflow (3.3–15.2%)

  • Increase in mean annual hydropower generation (0.9–8.1%)

 
This study HEC-HMS; WEAP and energy module; GCMs: HadCM3, CGCM3 and CanESM2; SDSM; A2, B2, RCP 2.6, RCP 4.5 and RCP 8.5 emission scenarios Seimareh Dam and Hydropower Plant, Iran 
  • Increase in temperature

  • Decrease in precipitation

  • Decrease in Seimareh Dam inflow (5.2–13.4%)

  • Decrease in energy production (8.4–16.3%)

 
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