Seasonal Climate Forecast Skill Assessment for the Management of Water Resources in a Run of River Hydropower System in the Poqueira River (Southern Spain)
Polo Gómez, María José
Mediterranean high-mountain climate
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Run of river (RoR) hydropower systems, despite being one of the most cost-effective and environmentally benign energy technologies, have the disadvantage that production is not constant because it is subject to a high variability in precipitation and snow cover. In addition, the management of RoR plants has to comply with some particular operating conditions, but also with some environmental flow requirements. This work presents the assessment of the main inputs included in a climate service, historical local data and the seasonal forecast of water inflow to RoR plants, which are used to predict the operability and the expected energy production. The analysis is presented through the application in a pilot RoR system located in the south of Spain, in a semi-arid Mediterranean area impacted by snow, where seasonal forecasting is especially challenging. The results show the high interannual variability of the operation in this kind of facilities. The outcomes indicate that seasonal climate forecast information would improve the prediction of observed river streamflow by 7.4% in reliability and 3.2% in sharpness compared to the current operational forecast based on historical data. The climate forecasts thus provide valuable information for the exploitation of available water resources, which generates a significant value for the operation of the plant and the energy production market.