Hydrometeorological predictions for the hydropower sector – potential economic benefits – IMPREX Fact Sheet

Cover Hydrometeorological predictions for the hydropower sector – potential economic benefits
adelphi; Maria-Helena Ramos 2019: Hydrometeorological predictions for the hydropower sector – potential economic benefits . IMPREX Fact Sheet. adelphi.

Water is a vital natural resource and, as such, an integral part of our environment and climate system. Excessive water exposure during flood conditions and water scarcity during droughts pose fundamental risks to life and weaken socio-economic resilience. Present-day water management in many sectors has to be able to cope with extreme hydrological conditions.

The European research project IMPREX (IMproving PRedictions and management of hydrological EXtremes) was funded under the EU Framework Programme Horizon 2020. The project consortium, consisting of 23 renowned partners from nine countries, took up the challenge of developing methods and tools to improve predictions of hydro-meteorological extremes. The research focused on adapting climate information to the needs of six core sectors: flood risk assessments, hydropower, water transport, urban water management, agriculture and droughts. 

adelphi has developed a fact sheet for each sector. These describe and explain the most important products, provide practical examples, analyse implementation challenges for practitioners and show how IMPREX products can facilitate processes. The fact sheets are based on the work carried out within the context of the IMPREX research project and interviews with involved stakeholders.

IMPREX has developed a robust approach to demonstrate the economic impact of climate and water forecasts in the hydropower sector, presented in this fact sheet. Its aim is to increase operational efficiency by demonstrating the economic gains of hydro-meteorological forecasting, combined with efficient management approaches. It considers short-term optimised operations, risk-based decision-making and the optimisation of management procedures in the longer term. Climate and market-oriented strategic viewpoints are brought together to potentially increase the economic benefits in hydropower reservoir management and planning.

IMPREX partners have applied this approach in four different European case studies. The results of the South-Eastern France case study show that systematically overestimating reservoir inflows can lead to large losses of hydropower revenue when the reservoirs have a small storage capacity and use only short-range forecasts. Flow forecasts that are biased and have the tendency to forecast extremes negatively affect the optimal daily management of a reservoir in the end. For management procedures and optimization approaches in the hydropower sector, fluctuations in both, the climate system and the electricity market, need to be considered when analysing scenarios. The methodologies developed here have the potential to help shape new strategies for reshaping energy systems, in the EU and its constituent nations.

Further fact sheets from this project:

Policy recommendations:

Comprehensive brochure: