IWA Publishing

Creating a climate change risk assessment procedure: Hydropower plant case, Finland

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This paper examines the risk assessment procedure for a Nordic hydropower production process while taking climate change into account. It is evident that climate change poses new risks and concerns for hydropower companies, especially with regards to the high uncertainty that results from the ignorance of relationships between climate change and hydropower production (descriptive uncertainty). However, climate change may also provide opportunities. This paper focuses on the development of a risk assessment procedure to support the risk identification process as a means of reducing the descriptive uncertainty. The intention of the study was to develop and test a procedure in which climate scenarios and traditional technical risk assessment have been integrated. This allows us to obtain a practical method as well as associated support tools for identifying and evaluating climate change-related risks and opportunities for hydropower plants. This new procedure is intended to help hydropower plants plan their future investments and strategies by identifying and prioritizing the risks caused and opportunities created by climate change. The study was conducted as a part of the Nordic Energy Research funded Climate and Energy Systems (CES) project and was coordinated by VTT Technical Research Centre of Finland.

Keywords: climate change, climate scenarios, emerging risks, hydropower, risk assessment procedure, uncertainty

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