Climate Services in Hydropower Sector

Water-management issue

The hydropower sector is sensitive to climate variables, as these directly affect energy generation and consumption. Climate services provide key information to optimize reservoir operations for hydropower production and to manage water storage to meet the needs of other users (for instance, tourism, agriculture, environmental flows). They also provide guidelines for climate change adaptation and to build strategies that incorporate climate resilience into existing hydropower facilities and the development of new projects. With many climate services flourishing across Europe, the challenge today is to develop energy indicators based on these climate services, which can facilitate decision-making at the regional and local levels.

Decision support to client

AQUACLEW final results will be useful to better evaluate the effects of climate variables and their expected changes on hydropower production, current management strategies, planning storage and production capacity.

Temporal and spatial scale

Climate and energy indicators derived from the AQUACLEW project focus on decision-making for hydropower reservoir management and adaptation for the “near future” climate (2016-2045) and the “mid-century” climate (2036-2065). The spatial scales cover regional and/or local scales in France.

Climate Indicators

Pan-European and local indicators

Projected evolutions of precipitation, temperature and river flows at regional and/or local scales (catchment-based indictors) are used. Hydropower studies are interested in evolutions of monthly regimes and variations in the frequency of extreme events (storms, heatwaves, floods, drought periods).

Case study workflow

  1. Data overview and selection of methods: Identification of climate services that can specifically address the needs of the hydropower sector (variables provided, spatial and temporal resolutions, easiness of access and available data for downloading) and selection of existing methods (or identification of  needs for the development of new ones) that link climate variables to energy indicators
  2. Climate and river flow projections and impacts: Extraction of projections (or anomalies) from a range of Pan-European and national Climate Services Portals and application at river locations where hydropower facilities are implemented. Summary of knowledge on current and expected changes, expected management challenges and impacts on hydroelectric potential (including uncertainties).
  3. Development of local indicators: Development of local indicators that translate large scale knowledge and quantify vulnerability to climate change adaptation in the hydropower sector.
  4. Usability and co-design feedback: Assessment of the usability of indicators for decision making with client and feedback to their co-design (step 3)
  5. Impact on hydropower decision-making: Analysis of the impact on making decision with and without climate services for hydropower production and planning (including uncertainties)
  6. Lessons learned and recommendations: Summary of lessons learned and recommendations

Importance and Relevance of Adaptation

EDF, the main electricity producer in France, actively uses climate services and indicators to understand the consequences of climate change in electricity systems, foresee developments and adapt its power generation facilities to cope with changes in climate and its impacts. They develop tools and methods to perform studies on climate change impacts and define the best operational and strategic decisions in response to climate change. AQUACLEW offers the opportunity to co-design services and indicators specifically for hydropower production, based on state-of-the-art services and tailored choices for maximum utility.

Scientific Publications

Lemoine, A., Ramos, M.-H. (2018) Towards improving the performance of water-energy systems by integrating large-scale climate services indicators. Communication submitted to SHF Conference HydroES 2019 (Hydro Energy & Sustainability 2019: What future for hydropower in France and in Europe), Grenoble, 29-30 January 2019, 6 pages.

Consultancy or Knowledge Purveyors

Irstea; France


Electricité de France (EDF); France


Maria-Helena Ramos (IRSTEA)

Anthony Lemoine (IRSTEA)


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