EGU General Assembly 2020
© Author(s) 2020. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

Benefits and limits of season-ahead forecasts for hydropower production: a global analysis

Jia Yi Ng1, Donghoon Lee2, Stefano Galelli1, and Paul Block2
Jia Yi Ng et al.
  • 1Engineering Systems and Design, Singapore University of Technology and Design, Singapore, Singapore
  • 2Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, University of Wisconsin-Madison, Madison, USA

Season-ahead hydro-climatological forecasts are a useful source of information for hydropower operators: at the onset of a flooding season, for example, predictive information on the timing and magnitude of the inflow volume can help operators schedule the release trajectory, decide on the amount of volume to store, and therefore maximize hydropower production. Intuitively, the forecast value varies not only with predictive accuracy, or skill, but also with the reservoir design specifications. Characterizing and explaining the relationship between skill, design specifications, and value is thus a necessary step towards a more informed and effective use of seasonal forecasts. To investigate the nature of this relationship, we modeled 1,593 hydropower reservoirs, for which we developed 3-month ahead monthly inflow forecasts—based on a principal component linear regression model. Our results show that more than half of the dams could benefit from forecasts, averaging a 6.56% annual increase in hydropower production. We also found that forecast value is largely controlled by reservoir design specifications; specifically, we found that reservoirs with small storage capacity (relative to inflow) and large inflow volumes (relative to turbine capacity) have better chances of benefitting from accurate forecasts. With this information, we classify and map each dam on the basis of its potential to increase hydropower production.

How to cite: Ng, J. Y., Lee, D., Galelli, S., and Block, P.: Benefits and limits of season-ahead forecasts for hydropower production: a global analysis, EGU General Assembly 2020, Online, 4–8 May 2020, EGU2020-12440,, 2020


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