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Title: The Second Assessment of the Effects of Climate Change on Federal Hydropower

Abstract

Hydropower is a key contributor to the US renewable energy portfolio due to its established development history and the diverse benefits it provides to the electric power system. Ensuring the sustainable operation of existing hydropower facilities is of great importance to the US renewable energy portfolio and the reliability of electricity grid. As directed by Congress in Section 9505 of the SECURE Water Act (SWA) of 2009 (Public Law 111-11), the US Department of Energy (DOE), in consultation with the federal Power Marketing Administrations (PMAs) and other federal agencies, has prepared a second quinquennial report on examining the potential effects of climate change on water available for hydropower at federal facilities and on the marketing of power from these federal facilities. This Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL) Technical Memorandum, referred to as the 9505 assessment, describes the technical basis for the report to Congress that was called for in the SWA. To evaluate the potential climate change effects on 132 federal hydropower plants across the entire US, a spatially consistent assessment approach is designed to enable an interregional comparison. This assessment uses a series of models and methods with different spatial resolutions to gradually downscale the global climate change signalsmore » into watershed-scale hydrologic projections to support hydropower impact assessment. A variety of historic meteorological and hydrologic observations, hydropower facility characteristics, and geospatial datasets is collected to support model development, calibration, and verification. Among most of the federal hydropower plants throughout the US, the most important climate change effect on hydrology is likely to be the trend toward earlier snowmelt and change of runoff seasonality. Under the projections of increasing winter/spring runoff and decreasing summer/fall runoff, water resource managers may need to consider different water use allocations. With the relatively large storage capacity in the most of the US federal hydropower reservoirs, the system is likely to be able to absorb part of the runoff variability and hence may continue to provide stable annual hydropower generation in the projected near-term and midterm future periods. Nevertheless, the findings are based on the assumption that there is no significant change in the future installed capacity and operation. The issues of aging infrastructures, competing water demand, and environmental requirements may reduce the system s ability to mitigate runoff variability and increase the difficulty of future operation. These issues are not quantitatively analyzed in this study. This study presents a regional assessment at each of the eighteen PMA study areas. This generalized approach allows for spatial consistency throughout all study areas, enabling policymakers to evaluate potential climate change impacts across the entire federal hydropower fleet. This effort is expected to promote better understanding of the sensitivity of federal power plants to water availability and provides a basis for planning future actions that will enable adaptation to climate variability and change.« less

Authors:
 [1];  [1];  [1];  [1];  [1];  [1];  [1];  [1];  [1]
  1. Oak Ridge National Lab. (ORNL), Oak Ridge, TN (United States)
Publication Date:
Research Org.:
Oak Ridge National Lab. (ORNL), Oak Ridge, TN (United States). Oak Ridge Leadership Computing Facility (OLCF)
Sponsoring Org.:
USDOE
OSTI Identifier:
1340431
Report Number(s):
ORNL/TM-2015/357
WC0100000; WC0102000; CEWW099
DOE Contract Number:  
AC05-00OR22725
Resource Type:
Technical Report
Country of Publication:
United States
Language:
English
Subject:
13 HYDRO ENERGY; 54 ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCES

Citation Formats

Kao, Shih-Chieh, Ashfaq, Moetasim, Naz, Bibi S., Uria Martinez, Rocio, Rastogi, Deeksha, Mei, Rui, Jager, Yetta, Samu, Nicole M., and Sale, Michael J. The Second Assessment of the Effects of Climate Change on Federal Hydropower. United States: N. p., 2016. Web. doi:10.2172/1340431.
Kao, Shih-Chieh, Ashfaq, Moetasim, Naz, Bibi S., Uria Martinez, Rocio, Rastogi, Deeksha, Mei, Rui, Jager, Yetta, Samu, Nicole M., & Sale, Michael J. The Second Assessment of the Effects of Climate Change on Federal Hydropower. United States. doi:10.2172/1340431.
Kao, Shih-Chieh, Ashfaq, Moetasim, Naz, Bibi S., Uria Martinez, Rocio, Rastogi, Deeksha, Mei, Rui, Jager, Yetta, Samu, Nicole M., and Sale, Michael J. Thu . "The Second Assessment of the Effects of Climate Change on Federal Hydropower". United States. doi:10.2172/1340431. https://www.osti.gov/servlets/purl/1340431.
@article{osti_1340431,
title = {The Second Assessment of the Effects of Climate Change on Federal Hydropower},
author = {Kao, Shih-Chieh and Ashfaq, Moetasim and Naz, Bibi S. and Uria Martinez, Rocio and Rastogi, Deeksha and Mei, Rui and Jager, Yetta and Samu, Nicole M. and Sale, Michael J.},
abstractNote = {Hydropower is a key contributor to the US renewable energy portfolio due to its established development history and the diverse benefits it provides to the electric power system. Ensuring the sustainable operation of existing hydropower facilities is of great importance to the US renewable energy portfolio and the reliability of electricity grid. As directed by Congress in Section 9505 of the SECURE Water Act (SWA) of 2009 (Public Law 111-11), the US Department of Energy (DOE), in consultation with the federal Power Marketing Administrations (PMAs) and other federal agencies, has prepared a second quinquennial report on examining the potential effects of climate change on water available for hydropower at federal facilities and on the marketing of power from these federal facilities. This Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL) Technical Memorandum, referred to as the 9505 assessment, describes the technical basis for the report to Congress that was called for in the SWA. To evaluate the potential climate change effects on 132 federal hydropower plants across the entire US, a spatially consistent assessment approach is designed to enable an interregional comparison. This assessment uses a series of models and methods with different spatial resolutions to gradually downscale the global climate change signals into watershed-scale hydrologic projections to support hydropower impact assessment. A variety of historic meteorological and hydrologic observations, hydropower facility characteristics, and geospatial datasets is collected to support model development, calibration, and verification. Among most of the federal hydropower plants throughout the US, the most important climate change effect on hydrology is likely to be the trend toward earlier snowmelt and change of runoff seasonality. Under the projections of increasing winter/spring runoff and decreasing summer/fall runoff, water resource managers may need to consider different water use allocations. With the relatively large storage capacity in the most of the US federal hydropower reservoirs, the system is likely to be able to absorb part of the runoff variability and hence may continue to provide stable annual hydropower generation in the projected near-term and midterm future periods. Nevertheless, the findings are based on the assumption that there is no significant change in the future installed capacity and operation. The issues of aging infrastructures, competing water demand, and environmental requirements may reduce the system s ability to mitigate runoff variability and increase the difficulty of future operation. These issues are not quantitatively analyzed in this study. This study presents a regional assessment at each of the eighteen PMA study areas. This generalized approach allows for spatial consistency throughout all study areas, enabling policymakers to evaluate potential climate change impacts across the entire federal hydropower fleet. This effort is expected to promote better understanding of the sensitivity of federal power plants to water availability and provides a basis for planning future actions that will enable adaptation to climate variability and change.},
doi = {10.2172/1340431},
journal = {},
number = ,
volume = ,
place = {United States},
year = {Thu Sep 01 00:00:00 EDT 2016},
month = {Thu Sep 01 00:00:00 EDT 2016}
}

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