Declining cost of renewables and climate change curb the need for African hydropower expansion

Carlino, A., Wildemeersch, M. ORCID:, Chawanda, C.J., Giuliani, M., Sterl, S., Thiery, W., van Griensven, A., & Castelletti, A. (2023). Declining cost of renewables and climate change curb the need for African hydropower expansion. Science 381 (6658) 10.1126/science.adf5848.

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Across continental Africa, more than 300 new hydropower projects are under consideration to meet the future energy demand that is expected based on the growing population and increasing energy access. Yet large uncertainties associated with hydroclimatic and socioeconomic changes challenge hydropower planning. In this work, we show that only 40 to 68% of the candidate hydropower capacity in Africa is economically attractive. By analyzing the African energy systems' development from 2020 to 2050 for different scenarios of energy demand, land-use change, and climate impacts on water availability, we find that wind and solar outcompete hydropower by 2030. An additional 1.8 to 4% increase in annual continental investment ensures reliability against future hydroclimatic variability. However, cooperation between countries is needed to overcome the divergent spatial distribution of investment costs and potential energy deficits.

Item Type: Article
Research Programs: Advancing Systems Analysis (ASA)
Advancing Systems Analysis (ASA) > Exploratory Modeling of Human-natural Systems (EM)
Young Scientists Summer Program (YSSP)
Depositing User: Luke Kirwan
Date Deposited: 11 Aug 2023 11:55
Last Modified: 11 Aug 2023 11:55

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