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Climate Change Impacts and Greenhouse Gas Mitigation Effects on U.S. Hydropower Generation
Climate Change Impacts and Greenhouse Gas Mitigation Effects on U.S. Hydropower Generation.
To estimate the impacts of climate change on hydropower generation in the U.S.
Climate change will have potentially significant effects on hydropower generation due to changes in the magnitude and seasonality of river runoff and increases in reservoir evaporation. These physical impacts will in turn have economic consequences through both producer revenues and consumer expenditures. In this paper, we analyze the physical and economic effects of changes in hydropower generation for the contiguous U.S. in futures with and without global-scale greenhouse gas mitigation, and across patterns from 18 General Circulation Models. Using a monthly water resources systems model of 2,119 river basins that routes simulated river runoff through reservoirs to allocate water to conflicting and climate dependent demands and over 500 of the largest U.S. hydropower facilities, we provide a first-order estimate of the impacts of various projected emissions outcomes on hydropower generation, and monetize these impacts using outputs from an electric sector planning model.