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Infrastructure Resilience Conference 2018

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Resilient Transformation of National Power Supply for Countries in the Amazon Region. The Case Study of Ecuador

South American countries located in the Amazon Region, i.e. Colombia, Ecuador, Peru, Brazil and Bolivia highly rely on hydropower for their electricity supply. However, due to its dependency on climate conditions, the effects of climate change could add a significant amount of uncertainty to the frequency, intensity and duration of the hydrological regime in the region entailing high risks for security of supply in the long-term perspective [1].

Government-driven generation capacity expansion plans do not reflect a diversified strategy to cope with the upcoming challenges. In the case of Ecuador, the current administration has been establishing strategic expansion plans to meet future demand focused mainly on the construction of large-capacity hydropower project (e.g. Coca-Codo-Sinclair Power Plant, 1.5 GW). Most of them are run-of-river power plants with relatively small regulation reservoirs, which would not provide compensation for seasonal variation. For the cases of low hydrological scenarios, the proposed strategy is to rely on the use of fossil fuels thermal power plants to increase the margin of reserve. However, their intensive use will correspondingly intensify the production of greenhouse gas emissions causing environmental impacts and strengthening the effects of climate change.

Considering the challenges stated above, this research aims at developing a methodology for designing and analyzing different long-term energy scenarios with a focus on increasing resilience towards stressors with high uncertainty, especially climate change induced stressors. An energy system model will be developed in order to evaluate security of supply in terms of generation adequacy. The methodology starts with the evaluation of complementarities of solar, wind, and hydrological resources as an integral strategy to diversify and complement the power mix. The potential shifts in the hydrological regime under different plausible climate change scenarios will also be considered to evaluate the impacts on hydropower. The final results seek to capture the situation in the Ecuadorian power system and it is expected to allow drawing conclusions about the transformation towards resilient power systems for the countries located in the Amazon Region and possibly beyond.

[1] R. Schaeffer, A. Szklo, A. Pereira de Lucena, R. Soria, and M. Chávez-Rodriguez, “The Vulnerable Amazon: The Impact of Climate Change on the Untapped Potential of Hydropower Systems,” Power Energy Mag. IEEE, vol. 11, no. 3, pp. 22–31, 2013.

Mariela Tapia
University of Bremen

Stefan Gößling-Reisemann
University of Bremen


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