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Methodology for the evaluation of the residual potential hydropower production in Italy taking into account the catchment water resource exploitation

Congress: 2008
Author(s): Julio Alterach, Maximo Peviani, Alessandro Davitti, Milena Vergata
Alterach Julio(1), Peviani Maximo(1), Davitti Alessandro (1) , Vergata Milena (1) (1) CESI RICERCA SpA. Via Rubattino, 54 20134 Milano Italy phone: +39/0239921; fax: +39/0239925440 e-mails:,
AbstractHydropower production is the most important renewable energy source in the Italian electricity system, with more than 2.000 plants, more than 17 GW power installed and a mean annual production of about 42 TWh. Due to the increasing attention to environmental protection on the one hand, and unexploited watercourses on the other hand, the role of small hydropower has gained particular attention. Recent studies concerning the residual potential of small scale hydropower generation in Italy show that there are conditions for increasing the current level of small hydro production. The present paper describes the methodology to evaluate the residual potential hydropower energy in the Italian territory, taking into account the current water resource exploitation (irrigation, drinkable water, existing hydro power, etc). The model uses a numerical technique coupled with a GIS of the hydrological and physiographic characteristics of each basin, at a national scale. The GIS model covers the whole Italian territory with nearly 1500 of interconnected sub-basins, each one with the necessary physiographic information, the rainfall maps and the corresponded runoff coefficients. The Italian maps of the water resources availability and the maximum potential hydropower are produced and illustrated. To assess the residual potential hydropower production, the algorithms take into account the minimum flows (released to comply with environmental regulation) and the present water uses for each elementary basin. Finally results for a case study are illustrated. The residual potential hydropower production map demonstrates to be a quite helpful tool to support administrations, decision makers and stakeholders in general, to make Energy Master Plans, or assess and implement small scale hydropower plants.
2011 IWRA - International Water Resources Association - - Admin