- Climate Change
- Renewable energies
Le nexus eau-électricité face aux impacts du changement climatique et pour son atténuation
PhD Supervisors: Jan Polcher (LMD) et Philippe Quirion
LMD and CIRED are currently working to represent anthropogenic water management in the ORCHIDEE continental surface model (Zhou et al., 2021). This representation of real flows is essential to study the evolution of the hydrological resource under the joint actions of climate change and its management by humans. A significant decrease in river flows is expected in Mediterranean Europe (Schneider et al., 2013) while increasing water demands are projected for irrigation (soil drying and evaporative demand from the atmosphere) and hydropower (key role in the transition to renewable energy rich electricity mixes foreseen by Directive (EU) 2018/2001). An increase in river temperatures is also expected, threatening the cooling of thermal power plants during the summer. In France, where the electricity mix is highly dependent on hydrological resources, tensions between water uses are likely to increase, threatening the electricity system and its transition. Our interdisciplinary research project aims to study the impacts on the French electrical system of this joint evolution of the hydrological resource and its uses.
We will start by assessing the evolution of the natural hydrological resource in response to climate change by exploiting ongoing simulations of the ORCHIDEE model integrating its river module (Nguyen-Quang, 2018), forced by the EuroCORDEX climate projection ensemble. We will then determine the evolution of irrigation demand from crop water stress data and the anthropogenic water management module that predicts whether resources can meet this demand. The resulting data on reservoir flows and volumes will allow us to define a hydroelectric production potential that can then be used as an input to the EOLES model, the national electricity mix optimization model developed by CIRED (Shirizadeh et al., 2020). This will allow us to improve the hydroelectric modeling (run-of-river plants, dams and WWTPs) of EOLES, which is currently based on simple statistical observations, and to define solar, wind, hydro and electricity demand profiles that are consistent with each other and with the meteorological data. We will then be able to see how the optimal mix evolves with these new parameters.
In a second part we will add to this first study the effects of climate change and human water management on the cooling of nuclear power plants. Thermal power plants must indeed respect a maximum constraint of water temperature downstream and will thus be jointly impacted by the decrease of flows and the increase of temperature. We will place the different power plants in the ORCHIDEE model in order to evaluate the loss of power plant availability due to these two effects. Finally, we will analyze the impact on the electricity mix of all these water use constraints for different development scenarios of variable low-carbon energies (wind and photovoltaic) with the EOLES model.
This thesis, by coupling hydro-climatic and energy modelling, will allow to complete the state of knowledge on the vulnerability of renewable energies to climate change since for the moment only the natural hydrological evolution is taken into account. It will also allow us to identify the possible tensions of use that could arise in certain territories in order to alert the public authorities to the urgency of proposing adaptation solutions. This project will be resolutely innovative by its transdisciplinary character.