Climate change has decreased hydroelectric energy generation in the Upper Euphrates Basin, says the new HPA Report.

Climate change has decreased hydroelectric energy generation in the Upper Euphrates Basin, says the new HPA Report.

Hydroelectric energy generation has decreased for a long time.

The report titled “The Impact of Climate Change  in the Upper Tigris and Euphrates Basin," prepared by the Hydropolitics Association, says that "the electricity generation of Keban, Karakaya, and Atatürk Dams has gradually decreased by 25% since the last 30 years.

These dams on the Euphrates River annually generate one-fifth of the total hydroelectric energy in Türkiye. These dams have generated 17 years of lower project capacity in the last 30 years. In the Atatürk Dam, the annual generation amounts during the eight years in the last 30 years were 45% below the capacity of 8.9 GWh.

 The report prepared by the experts of the Hydropolitics Association investigated the reasons for this continuous energy generation decrease. In the report, many effects that may cause a continuous decrease in the energy generation from the dams in the Upper Euphrates basin have been investigated in detail.

It was concluded that this gradual decrease in hydroenergy generation in the last 30 years was caused by a decrease in precipitation and meteorological drought periods in the basin. In addition, many other scientific research results examining the effects of climate change in this region and snowfall analyses made by the General Directorate of Meteorology (MGM) for the region have been reviewed. It was found that the tendency to decrease hydroelectric energy production mentioned in the report was also compatible with these results and analyses.

 Dursun Yıldız, President of the Hydropolitics Association, made the following statement regarding the results of the report:

  1. Climate change has reduced hydroenergy generation in the Upper Euphrates Basin for the last 30 years. This decreased tendency is likely to continue.
  2. Climate change will also adversely affect irrigation projects in the GAP region.
  3. This has been a concrete example for the studies to take into account the effect of climate change on transboundary water allocation agreements ongoing in the UNECE.
  4.  Climate change will also have significant effects on the hydropolitics of the Tigris and Euphrates River Basin.
  5. Because of climate change's adverse effects on water resources in the region, existing plans on sectoral water allocation and regional hydropolitics need to be updated.


About the Report

Keban, Karakaya, and Atatürk Dams are located in line with the Euphrates River and still produce about 12% of the total hydroelectric energy of Türkiye. The water released from the Keban Dam upstream is also used by other dams to produce hydroelectricity in a synchronized manner.

 All of these dams have started to produce energy together since 1993. This report aims to investigate the causes of decreasing annual energy generation from all three dams between 1993 and 2022. In this study, it was seen that the total electricity produced from these three dams has started to gradually decrease since 1998. In the last 5 years, it has been determined that this energy has decreased by one-quarter compared to the start of production. In the study, the reasons for this decrease were investigated, and the results obtained were presented in this report.

As a result, the total electricity generation from Keban, Karakaya, and Atatürk Dams has gradually decreased by 25% in the last 30 years compared to the energy generation starting years  in the early 1990s. The decrease in hydro electrical energy produced from these dams  will create   economic consequences in Türkiye  as well as the hydropolitics of the region. It is found  that the decline in electrical energy production is in great correlation with the droughts in the region. This shows that a decrease in rainfall and snowfall has led to a decrease in the average annual flow of the Euphrates River in the last 30 years.

This result is compatible with the results of many scientific studies on how the Euphrates and Tigris River flows are affected by climate change and analyses on the average annual snowfall measurements in the Upper Euphrates basin. It is hoped that this report will be beneficial for the hydropolitics of the region as well as climate change adaptation.

HPA News


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