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WB: Estimating Global Climate Change Impacts on Hydropower Projects

September 1, 2007


In this policy research working paper, the World Bank examines the resulting impact of climate change on hydropower projects. Three projects are considered: India, Sri Lanka, and


Due to increasing carbon dioxide concentrations it is predicted that global warming would have a variety of environmental and socio-economic impacts over the long term. In recent years particular attention has been paid to hydropower generation, because it can offer a supply of renewable energy. At the same time, however, hydropower is clearly among the most vulnerable areas to global warming because water resources are closely linked to climate changes.

To analyze the potential impacts of climate changes on the hydropower industry, the current paper aims to develop a hydrological model using a simple multivariate time series technique. The model is applied to three hydropower projects in India, Sri Lanka and Vietnam to check the methodological applicability. The results may be tentative in terms of both methodology and implications, but comparing those three cases, the paper will quantify the major impacts of climate changes on hydrology, whence hydropower projects as a whole. The paper finally attempts to draw some tentative policy implications for hydropower planning and operation.

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