Ethiopia is growing fast, and the country has a dire need of energy. To avoid environmental damages, however, Ethiopia is looking for green energy polices, including hydropower exploitation, with large water availability (i.e., the Blue Nile, the greatest tributary of Nile river). Besides other dams on the Omo river, the GIBE family, Ethiopia is now building the largest hydropower plant of Africa, the GERD (Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam), on the Blue Nile river, leading to tensions between Ethiopia, and Egypt, due to potentially conflictive water management. In addition, present and prospective climate change may affect reservoirs’ operation, and this thereby is relevant for downstream water users, population, and environment. Here, we evaluated water management for the GERD, and GIBE III dams, under present, and future hydrological conditions until 2100. We used two models, namely, Poli-Hydro and Poli-Power, to describe (i) hydrological budget, and flow routing and (ii) optimal/maximum hydropower production from the two dams, under unconstrained (i.e., no release downstream besides MIF) and constrained (i.e., with fair release downstream) simulation. We then used climate change scenarios from the reports CMIP5/6 of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) until 2100, to assess future hydropower production. Our results demonstrate that the filling phase of the GERD, particularly critical, have optimal filling time of 5 years or so. Stream flows at GERD could be greater than the present ones (control run CR) at half century (2050–2059), but there could be large decrease at the end of century (2090–2099). Energy production at half century may increase, and then decrease until the end of century. In GIBE III discharges would increase both at half century, and at the end of century, and so would energy production. Constrained, and unconstrained simulation provide in practice similar results, suggesting potential for shared water management in both plants.

Impact of prospective climate change scenarios upon hydropower potential of Ethiopia in gerd and gibe dams

Bombelli G. M.;Tomiet S.;Bianchi A.;Bocchiola D.
2021

Abstract

Ethiopia is growing fast, and the country has a dire need of energy. To avoid environmental damages, however, Ethiopia is looking for green energy polices, including hydropower exploitation, with large water availability (i.e., the Blue Nile, the greatest tributary of Nile river). Besides other dams on the Omo river, the GIBE family, Ethiopia is now building the largest hydropower plant of Africa, the GERD (Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam), on the Blue Nile river, leading to tensions between Ethiopia, and Egypt, due to potentially conflictive water management. In addition, present and prospective climate change may affect reservoirs’ operation, and this thereby is relevant for downstream water users, population, and environment. Here, we evaluated water management for the GERD, and GIBE III dams, under present, and future hydrological conditions until 2100. We used two models, namely, Poli-Hydro and Poli-Power, to describe (i) hydrological budget, and flow routing and (ii) optimal/maximum hydropower production from the two dams, under unconstrained (i.e., no release downstream besides MIF) and constrained (i.e., with fair release downstream) simulation. We then used climate change scenarios from the reports CMIP5/6 of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) until 2100, to assess future hydropower production. Our results demonstrate that the filling phase of the GERD, particularly critical, have optimal filling time of 5 years or so. Stream flows at GERD could be greater than the present ones (control run CR) at half century (2050–2059), but there could be large decrease at the end of century (2090–2099). Energy production at half century may increase, and then decrease until the end of century. In GIBE III discharges would increase both at half century, and at the end of century, and so would energy production. Constrained, and unconstrained simulation provide in practice similar results, suggesting potential for shared water management in both plants.
Blue Nile river
Climate change
Ethiopia
Hydropower
Omo river
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: https://hdl.handle.net/11311/1179642
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