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MudClima – Evaluation and Effect of Climate Change on Electric Power System

Climate change refers to changes in the state of the climate that can be identified by changes in the mean and / or variability of its properties, and this persists for a long period, typically decades or more, attributed directly or indirectly to human activity.
The Fifth Assessment Report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) analyzes how impacts related to climate change can be reduced and managed through mitigation and adaptation measures. Mitigation is defined as anthropogenic intervention to reduce sources of GHG emissions or to increase their sinks; adaptation refers to the adjustment process, in natural or human systems, in response to actual or expected climatic stimuli (eg, changes in precipitation regimes, more frequent occurrence of extreme climatic events, etc.), or its effects, which may reduce damages or explore beneficial opportunities.
In 2015, during the 21st Conference of the Parties (COP 21) of the UNFCCC, the Paris Agreement on Climate Change was established, where the 195 participating countries united with the common goal of reducing GHG emissions in the context of sustainable development and containing the global average temperature increase below 2 ° C compared to pre-industrial levels by the end of this century. As part of the Paris Agreement, each country reported its "intended" Nationally Determined Contribution (iNDC).
Notwithstanding the successful biofuels program, the high drop in the deforestation rate in the Brazilian Amazon (82% between 2004 and 2014), and to present energy and electricity mixes among the most renewable on the planet, in the Paris Agreement, during the COP 21, Brazil decided to further expand its contribution to the achievement of the UNFCCC objective in the context of sustainable development.
Globally, unlike Brazil, the energy sector has been a major player in global climate change, contributing at least 2/3 of its greenhouse gas emissions. Therefore, it can be said that the Paris Agreement on Climate Change is, in essence, an agreement on energy. As a consequence, a disruptive transformation in the world energy system is expected, accelerating the decarbonisation of the world economy and the large-scale implementation of clean, eminently renewable technologies, whether existing or new.
The search for a compromise solution between the several objectives of socioeconomic development and the climate, often conflicting with each other, becomes even more relevant in developing countries, where a very high growth in the consumption of electricity and increase of generation and transmission installed capacity is expected, which should be carried out as efficiently as possible.
Another aspect to emphasize concerns the interdependence (nexus) between energy and water. For example, the International Energy Agency (IEA) estimates that 10% of the fresh water withdraw today is used by the energy sector worldwide, and about 4% of the world's electricity is used to capture, distribute and treat water consumption, not counting the energy used in irrigation pumps and desalination plants. The IEA also estimates that, in line with economic and population growth, global demand for energy and water will increase, doubling by 2040. In addition, climate change could exacerbate water stress in many regions of the world. The nexus water and energy then becomes a critical component of mitigation and adaptation strategies, especially in Brazil, due to the predominance of hydroelectric generation.
In the case of Brazil, the electricity mix is marked by the majority contribution of renewable sources, in particular hydropower. Hydroelectricity promotes a number of benefits, including those related to the mitigation of climate change through low greenhouse gas emissions. Also, when hydroelectric facilities incorporate regularization reservoirs, they may contribute to mitigating the vulnerability of the electrical systems in which they are inserted and to increase the resilience of surrounding ecosystems and communities, as well as their ability to adapt to the risks posed by possible changes in climate variables. Nevertheless, its preponderant participation in the Brazilian electricity mix makes it more dependent on the climatic conditions and the hydrological regimes of the current and future Brazilian hydrographic basins. As a result, the associated impacts - whether positive or negative - should be evaluated from the business, energy security and socioeconomic perspectives, taking into account the aspects of sustainable development and / or promoting permanent environmental conservation.
Since its foundation, CEPEL has developed and maintained in the state of the art an integrated chain of methodologies and computational models for the energy area, based on optimization and simulation techniques, also considering uncertainties. This chain of models has oriented the expansion and operation of the Brazilian electricity system on a sustainable basis, with a high share of renewable sources, such as hydroelectric and biomass, and more recently, wind and solar. Due to its intrinsic nature, it has also contributed to the elaboration of mitigation actions, especially those related to strategies to implement low carbon technologies, with the consequent reduction of greenhouse gas emissions.
Regardless of the associated mitigation actions, an issue that arises today is related to the ability to develop and implement low carbon technologies, as well as strategies and actions to adapt to climate change. In other words, it is necessary to develop methodologies and tools capable of answering such questions as: how the temperature rise, changes in precipitation regimes and the more frequent occurrence of extreme weather events impact today and will impact the electricity sector in the future, in terms of energy production and consumption, and also in relation to its infrastructure and assets; how the sector should prepare to minimize these impacts, and what are the adaptation strategies at national, regional and local level.
One of the possible approaches to answer these questions is to develop methodologies to narrow the gap between climate and energy simulation / optimization models, a strategy adopted by CEPEL in the context of the Climate Change Project - MudClima, encompassing the following aspects:
(i)                  elaboration and analysis, from the IPCC's Representative Concentration Pathways (RCPs), of inflow scenarios to the hydropower plants by 2100, including extreme events;
(ii)                development of methodologies to consider their impacts in the power system expansion and operation planning, in terms of economy, security and emissions of greenhouse gases, also considering the associated effects on mitigation and adaptation policies;
(iii)               development of strategies and actions to adapt to the effects of climate change in the social, ecosystem and business areas; and

(iv)              development of methodologies for the establishment of indicators related to adaptation and resilience for the eligibility of hydropower projects to climatic bonds. 


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