Energy policy; New investments and retrofitting; Electricity market; Hydropower; Future drivers
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Gaudard Ludovic, Romerio Franco (2016), Hydropower: From past to future uncertainties, in Little and Heffron (ed.), Edinburgh University Press, Edinburgh, 307-316.
Gaudard Ludovic, Romerio Franco, Voegeli Guillaume (2016), L’hydroélectrique en Suisse du début du XXe siècle jusqu’au « virage énergétique », in Revue Historique Vaudoise
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Hydropower (HP) represents about 56% of the electricity mix in Switzerland. It is a pillar of the Energy Strategy 2050 (ES 2050), which plans to increase its production and take advantage of its flexibility. HP also represents an important sector for the Swiss economy and in particular for the mountain cantons.However, some drivers can jeopardize the future of HP. Wholesale market prices that are too low will prevent fixed and even variable costs from being covered. New technologies, for instance new electricity storage facilities, may represent direct contenders for HP. Climate change affects HP’s potential and the imminent end of water concessions creates regulatory uncertainties.The objective of this project is to assess the profitability of HP investments (new and retrofitting) and to understand their related uncertainties. It also aims to evaluate the impact of the long-term drivers on HP, namely smart grids, climate change and sedimentation. Smart grids represent the most radical change in the electric system and involve peak shaving, as well as an increasing share of intermittent renewables and new storage technologies.The project belongs to the joint-project entitled “The Future of Swiss Hydropower: An Integrated Economic Assessment of Chances, Threats and Solutions” (HP Future). The objectives of the other two projects are respectively, the optimization of HP plants in the short-term (HP Operation, WP1), and an assessment of their sustainability (HP Sustainability, WP3). They should also evaluate the market and institutional drivers.