How climate change is threatening Himalayan hydropower projects

Source: The post is based on the article How climate change is threatening Himalayan hydropower projectspublished in TOI on 30th September 2022.

What is the News?

According to a study, more than 650 hydropower projects planned or under construction in the Himalayan region are at risk from hazards related to melting glaciers.

About the study on Hydropower projects in the Himalayas

Hydropower as a low-carbon source of energy is projected to play an important role in meeting the rising energy demands in South Asia. 

For instance, hydropower potential in the Himalayas are mostly untapped with 650-odd projects representing around 260 gigawatts of power. 

However, these hydropower projects are facing hazardous threats due to climate change. These hazards include landslides, rock-ice avalanches, debris flow and lake outburst floods, all of which could increase with glacier melt and slope destabilization. 

For example, the avalanche-triggered flood in Chamoli, Uttarakhand in February last year destroyed two hydropower projects.

Global warming is also expected to lead to more glacier melt and extreme precipitation events in the region. Increased development in the mountains could also aggravate risks. 

The biggest threat may be lake outburst floods including landslide-driven lake outbursts and glacial lake outburst floods (GLOFS).

Note: GLOFS refer to the sudden release of water from a lake formed by glacial melt.

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