As many as 22 percent of hydropower plants could experience “strong” reductions in capacity monthly
TORONTO, Jan 4 (Thomson Reuters Foundation) – Climate change could lead to significant declines in electricity production in coming decades as water resources are disrupted, said a study published on Monday.
Hydropower stations and thermoelectric plants, which depend on water to generate energy, together contribute about 98 percent of the world’s electricity production, said the study published in the journal Nature Climate Change.
Shifts in water temperatures, or the availability of fresh water due to climate change, could lead to reductions in electricity production capacity in more than two thirds of the world’s power plants between 2040 and 2069, said the study from an Austrian research centre.
“Power plants are not only causing climate change, but they might also be affected in major ways by climate,” said Keywan Riahi, Director of the Energy Program at the International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis (IIASA).
“(Due to) climate change it will be increasingly difficult to provide reliable services at affordable costs,” Riahi, one of the study’s authors, told the Thomson Reuters Foundation.
Hydropower plants rely on water to move turbines, while thermoelectric plants, including nuclear and fossil-fuel based generators, need fresh water to cool their systems.
Countries and companies need to make power plants more efficient to respond to the potential decline, in what scientists said was the first study of its kind to analyse the global impacts of global warming on electricity production.