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Addressing Climate Risks to Hydro Power: Planning for Resilient Power Syste...

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Chemonics International

1717 H St NW # 1

Washington, DC 20006

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This event is part of the monthly USAID Adaptation Community Meetings. For more information and to stay up-to-date on similar events, please visit the event description on Climatelinks and sign up to receive event updates. A live webinar of the event will be available; details for accessing the webinar will be posted on Climatelinks closer to the event.

Hydropower is growing rapidly worldwide as a clean and renewable energy source that helps countries enhance energy security and curb greenhouse gas emissions, depending on location.

The benefits of hydropower are especially salient for smaller-scale hydro, given its smaller environmental and social footprint. New financial instruments, such as green bonds and payments for water services, along with engagement from multilateral agencies also make smaller-scale hydropower investment more attractive and feasible. But what does a changing climate mean for hydropower?

Changing rainfall patterns, rising temperature, more frequent or intense droughts and extreme weather events, glacier and snow-pack melt, sea level rise and resulting flooding all affect hydroelectricity generation capacity. Unless these risks are addressed, the intended hydropower benefits of improving energy access and security while reducing emissions relative to other power sources, may fall short. This is particularly true if electricity grids must turn to traditional, carbon-intensive energy sources, such as coal-fired plants, when hydropower becomes constrained.

Based on a recently released paper developed by the USAID-funded Resources to Advance LEDS Implementation (RALI) project, this presentation will highlight 1) how climate change can affect power generation resources, particularly hydropower resources; and 2) an approach that can be taken to address climate change risks, both at the project and sector level, to improve power system resilience and enhance energy security.


Presenter Bio:

Dr. Molly Hellmuth is the focal point on water and Africa for ICF’s Climate Adaptation and Resilience team. She has 20 years of experience developing climate risk management strategies, tools, and guidelines for various clients, including USAID, the World Bank, the African Development Bank, the U.S. Millennium Challenge Corporation, the Western Electric Coordinating Council, and the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE), amongst others. Dr. Hellmuth leads the work on integrating climate resilience into power systems planning under USAID’s Integrated Resource and Resilience Planning projects in Ghana and Tanzania. She is also developing a climate change risk screening tool application for hydropower facilities in the Lower Mekong River Basin, with support from DOE.


Photo Credit:

Paul Stewart. The Benmore Dam, New Zealand. May 2017.

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Chemonics International

1717 H St NW # 1

Washington, DC 20006

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