American Society of Civil Engineers

Climate Warming Effects on Hydropower Demand and Pricing in California

by Marion Guégan, (Division of Water Resources Engineering, Lund University. E-mail:, Kaveh Madani, (Department of Civil, Environmental, and Construction Engineering, University of Central Florida. E-mail:, and Cintia B. Uvo, (Division of Water Resources Engineering, Lund University. E-mail:
Section: Climate Change Symposium, pp. 1298-1307, (doi:

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Document type: Conference Proceeding Paper
Part of: World Environmental and Water Resources Congress 2011: Bearing Knowledge for Sustainability
Abstract: High-elevation hydropower units in California might be sensitive to climate warming since they have been designed to take advantage of snowmelt and have low built-in storage capacities. Snowmelt is expected to shift to earlier in the year and the system might not be able to store sufficient water for release in high-electricity-demanding periods. Previous studies have tried to explore the climate warming effects on California’s high-elevation hydropower system by focusing on the supply side only (exploring the effects of hydrological changes on generation and revenues). This study extends the previous work by also considering climate warming effects on hydropower demand and pricing. A long-term price forecasting tool is developed using Artificial Neural Network (ANN) models. California’s Energy-Based Hydropower Optimization Model (EBHOM) is then applied to estimate the adaptability of California’s high-elevation hydropower system to climate warming considering simultaneous changes in supply, demand and pricing. The model is run for dry and wet warming scenarios, representing a range of hydrological changes under climate change.

ASCE Subject Headings:
Hydro power
Climate change