26 Apr 2024, 13:22
Sören Amelang

Effects of climate change will drive up hydropower generation in Bavaria, operators say

Changing weather patterns will boost the role of hydropower in Germany’s energy transition, Bavarian industry associations have said. “Due to increasingly rainy winter months, [we] expect an increase in energy generation from hydropower in the winter months in the coming years and decades,” the Association of Hydropower Plants in Bavaria (VWB) and the State Association of Bavarian Hydropower Plants (LVBW) said. They added that hydropower is an ideal complement to photovoltaic power generation. “In winter, when little solar power is generated, but at the same time the demand for electricity is increasing due to [increasing power use in all economic sectors] and energy-intensive power-to-heat plants, hydropower plants produce reliable and stable energy and cover part of the base load in regional grids,” VWB head Fritz Schweiger said.

The associations said that thanks to their location, hydropower plants could also make a valuable contribution to future heat generation by supplying electricity for large heat pumps using the energy contained in bodies of water. Hydropower made an above-average contribution to electricity generation in Germany in the first quarter of 2024. With 5.3 billion kilowatt hours (kWh), an increase of around 27 percent over early 2023, it covered four percent of Germany's gross electricity consumption. Run-of-river power plants generated the bulk of that electricity. In contrast to large dams, these don’t create a large reservoir and might not even have water storage at all.

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