FutureWater has undertaken a Climate Risk and Adaptation assessment (CRA), commissioned by the Asian Development Bank (ADB), for two solar power plant and one wind farm projects in Bhutan. The goal of the ADB project ‘Renewable Energy for Climate Resilience’ in Bhutan is to diversify Bhutan’s energy portfolio. The expectation is that climate change impacts on the cryosphere and hydrology in Bhutan will lead to less reliable flows, particularly outside the monsoon season. This will make hydropower a less reliable source of energy, which may not be sufficient during the dry season.
Results from the CRA indicate that these assumptions are likely correct: future scenarios of climate change and hydrological changes project more erratic flows, meaning on one hand more extremes on the high end (floods), posing risks for hydropower infrastructure, but also through increasing sediment loads and risks of exposure to landslides and glacier lake outburst floods. On the other hand, a small increase in frequency and length of hydrological droughts is projected. Furthermore, projections of wind speed and incoming solar radiation indicate stable conditions compared to the present-day climate, further substantiating the rationale for portfolio diversification.
Read more about the project here.