Understanding the Potential Impact of Climate Change on Hydropower Generation in Rwanda
Keywords:hydropower plant, climate, environmental impacts
The primary energy sources used in Rwanda include solar energy, methane gas, diesel and heavy oil generators, hydropower plants, and thermal power plants. Hydropower is a significant renewable low-carbon energy source, generates more than 45% of Rwanda's total electricity. It requires water to produce energy, therefore any modifications to the natural hydrological cycle brought on by climate change have an impact and will continue to have an influence on the production of electricity. Hydropower is sorrow from an increase in extreme weather occurrences and erosion. Therefore, by altering flow (discharge) and head, climate change may have an effect on hydropower. The amount of sediment that is transferred to the reservoir lowers its capacity, and the dry season may result in less water in the reservoir, which has an impact on the hydroelectric power generation process. According to the study, changes in river flow have the greatest impact on how hydropower is affected by climate change. Droughts, seasonal and frequent floods, and greater variability due to climate change are the main contributors. The results show that climate change is likely to have a more pronounced impact on hydropower operations, with reductions in water availability due to climate change expected to result in reduced power generation. Additionally, existing dams will be located in areas at high risk of flooding due to climate change. In order to ensure electricity availability throughout the year, especially during the hot or dry seasons when discharges are often low, the required changes should be performed. These adjustments include using alternate backup sources and storage systems. Water consumers can be conserved and optimized through water resource management, drought resistance, flood protection, and conservation.
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