Drought reduces hydropower, poses a threat to clean energy

Sacramento, California / Brazil / Shanghai, August 13 (Reuters) – Drought-stricken rivers and reservoirs are drying up power plants in many countries around the world, and in some cases governments are relying too much on fossils. Fuel.

Problems with hydroelectric production in places such as the United States, China, and Brazil have long been viewed by scientists and energy experts as a long-term concern for the industry as climate change exacerbates climate change and reduces access to water.

They can also be a threat to global aspirations to combat global warming by banning one of the existing forms of clean energy. Hydropower is the world’s largest source of clean energy and holds about 16% of the world’s electricity, according to the International Energy Agency (II).

Climate-related droughts this year have caused the biggest disruption in hydropower production in decades in places such as the western United States and Brazil. In the southwestern part of the country, China is still recovering from the effects of last year’s severe drought on Hunnan province.

Elsewhere, too much water is a problem.

Last year, floods and debris in Malawi forced two power stations to go offline in the aftermath of a hurricane, reducing water power from 320 megawatts to 50 megawatts.

These effects have called for grid operators to rely more heavily on natural gas or coal-fired heat exchangers and to limit the use of electricity to prevent disruptions in businesses, according to Reuters in an interview with Grad operators and regulators.

“When we talk about hydropower, we have enough water to generate electricity,” says Christine Avert, a professor of climate research at the University of Nevada at the University of Las Vegas. “What will replace that hydro generation?”

It is closed on Lake Orville

For the first time since the California Water Project was built in 1967 due to low water levels, the 750-megawatt power plant at Lake Orville was forced to close this month. In good years, the plant can power half a million homes.

He said the largest reservoir in the federal government’s Central Valley project in California, Shasta Lake, was generating 30% less energy this summer.

The lake usually supplies about 710 megawatts during the summer, but in July it produced only 500 megawatts, Fox said.

Production at the 2,000-megawatt Hoover Dam on the Colorado River on the Nevada-Arizona border also dropped by about 25 percent last month, the agency said.

One megawatt can power up to 1,000 American homes.

In California, narrow power supplies, partially driven by low hydropower production, have allowed industrial power consumers to run on diesel generators and engines that generate more greenhouse gases.

The order also allowed ships at the port to use diesel generators instead of grids, and imposed restrictions on fossil fuels that could be used to generate power.

A boat at the foot of the Amazon River, Manus, Brazil, October 26, 2015. REUTERS / Bruno Kelly / File Photo

Environmentalists have criticized the move, saying it could worsen California’s climate and weaken the state’s efforts to combat climate change.

For his part, Tim Welch, director of water research at the United States Department of Energy, is exploring ways to keep dams afloat during the rainy season.

Water stations in the United States have a production capacity of about 80 GW, accounting for about 7% of total energy production, Welch said.

Famine in Brazil

Hydroelectric power, 61% of Brazil’s largest source of energy, has recently been reduced to 91 years due to drought, according to the country’s Ministry of Mines and Energy.

To compensate for the decline in hydroelectric power, the country is trying to revitalize its greenhouse gas-powered greenhouse. In July, sector supervisor Anel increased the cost of electricity by 52% due to the drought.

Extreme weather events, such as the current drought, are often associated with climate change, and Brazilians need to change their attitude towards water, said Jose Marengo, a climate expert at the government’s Disaster Management Center.

“People have always thought that water is unlimited, but not really,” says Marengo.

Brazil’s Minister of Mines and Energy, Bento Albuquerque, told reporters online that the construction of power lines would help the country cope with such events. In the future, and prevent the need for water distribution.

Nevertheless, Brazil has been dependent on hydropower for years. A.D. By 2030, the energy minister predicts that 49% of electricity will come from hydro. The country is considering cross-border dam projects with Bolivia, Guyana and Argentina, as well as plans to build more dams at 2 GW in the country.

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Last year’s drought in China’s Yunnan province reduced power generation by about 30% in the first five months of 2020. This year’s result is limited to about 10%.

Yunnan, which accounts for about a quarter of China’s total water production, is home to a number of high-energy aluminum dyeing industries. Earlier this year, the district restricted the use of energy by steel producers, forcing it to temporarily shut down its melting capacity.

Further disturbances are expected.

A recent study by researchers in Nanjing looked at the potential impact of climate change and global warming on hydroelectric production in Yunnan. Their models showed a decrease in rainfall and rainfall during the October-April drought and an increase in summer rainfall.

To identify even the variability, the researchers offered additional storage capacity – additional dams and reservoirs.

But experts say the windmills could exacerbate drought elsewhere. China’s massive reservoirs at the upper end of the Mekong River in Yunnan have already reduced river flow – affecting access to water in Thailand, Cambodia and Myanmar.

By Sharon Burnstein in Sacramento, California, Jack Spring in Brasilia, by David Stanway in Shanghai Edited by Margurita Choi

Our Standards – Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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