Staff Publications

Staff Publications

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    'Staff publications' is the digital repository of Wageningen University & Research

    'Staff publications' contains references to publications authored by Wageningen University staff from 1976 onward.

    Publications authored by the staff of the Research Institutes are available from 1995 onwards.

    Full text documents are added when available. The database is updated daily and currently holds about 240,000 items, of which 72,000 in open access.

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Record number 501716
Title Power-generation system vulnerability and adaptation to changes in climate and water resources
Author(s) Vliet, Michelle T.H. Van; Wiberg, David; Leduc, Sylvain; Riahi, Keywan
Source Nature Climate Change 6 (2016)4. - ISSN 1758-678X - p. 375 - 380.
Department(s) Earth System Science
Publication type Refereed Article in a scientific journal
Publication year 2016

Hydropower and thermoelectric power together contribute 98% of the worldâ €™ s electricity generation at present. These power-generating technologies both strongly depend on water availability, and water temperature for cooling also plays a critical role for thermoelectric power generation. Climate change and resulting changes in water resources will therefore affect power generation while energy demands continue to increase with economic development and a growing world population. Here we present a global assessment of the vulnerability of the worldâ €™ s current hydropower and thermoelectric power-generation system to changing climate and water resources, and test adaptation options for sustainable water-energy security during the twenty-first century. Using a coupled hydrological-electricity modelling framework with data on 24,515 hydropower and 1,427 thermoelectric power plants, we show reductions in usable capacity for 61-74% of the hydropower plants and 81-86% of the thermoelectric power plants worldwide for 2040-2069. However, adaptation options such as increased plant efficiencies, replacement of cooling system types and fuel switches are effective alternatives to reduce the assessed vulnerability to changing climate and freshwater resources. Transitions in the electricity sector with a stronger focus on adaptation, in addition to mitigation, are thus highly recommended to sustain water-energy security in the coming decades.

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