Assessing climate change impacts on the Iberian power system using a coupled water-power model

Silvio Javier Pereira Cardenal, Henrik Madsen, Karsten Arnbjerg-Nielsen, Niels Riegels, Roar Jensen, Birger Mo, Ivar Wangensteen, Peter Bauer-Gottwein

    Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articleResearchpeer-review


    Climate change is expected to have a negative impact on the power system of the Iberian Peninsula; changes in river runoff are expected to reduce hydropower generation, while higher temperatures are expected to increase summer electricity demand, when water resources are already limited. However, these impacts have not yet been evaluated at the peninsular level. We coupled a hydrological model with a power market model to study three impacts of climate change on the current Iberian power system: changes in hydropower production caused by changes in precipitation and temperature, changes in temporal patterns of electricity demand caused by temperature changes, and changes in irrigation water use caused by temperature and precipitation changes. A stochastic dynamic programming approach was used to develop operating rules for the integrated system given hydrological uncertainty. We found that changes in precipitation will reduce runoff, decrease hydropower production (with accompanying increases in thermal generation), and increase irrigation water use, while higher temperatures will shift power demand from winter to summer months. The combined impact of these effects will generally make it more challenging to balance agricultural, power, and environmental objectives in the operation of Iberian reservoirs, though some impacts could be mitigated by better alignment between temporal patterns of irrigation and power demands.
    Original languageEnglish
    JournalClimatic Change
    Issue number3-4
    Pages (from-to)351-364
    Number of pages14
    Publication statusPublished - 2014


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