Hydropower is the dominant source of energy in the Amazon region, the world’s largest river basin and a hotspot for future hydropower development.
Hydropower is the dominant source of energy in the Amazon region, the world’s largest river basin and a hotspot for future hydropower development. However, a new Global Environmental Change study warns that in the coming decades, climate change-driven reductions in precipitation and river discharge will diminish the Amazon’s hydropower capacity.
The study’s authors examined 351 proposed hydropower projects in the Amazon basin. Their findings suggest that hydrologic shifts by midcentury will reduce hydropower generation at many locations. As river discharge becomes increasingly variable and hydropower output declines, alternative energy sources like solar and wind are expected to become ever more important.
Co-author Stephen Hamilton, an ecosystem ecologist at Cary Institute of Ecosystem Studies, explains, “Hydropower projects in the Amazon basin are designed to operate under flow regimes based on historic river levels. Climate change is disrupting these patterns, meaning that many existing and proposed projects are unlikely to be as effective under future conditions.”
Read more at Cary Institute of Ecosystem Studies
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