Changes in short term river flow regulation and hydropeaking in Nordic rivers
Journal article, Peer reviewed
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Original versionScientific Reports. 2018, 8 (17232), 1-12. 10.1038/s41598-018-35406-3
Quantifying short-term changes in river flow is important in understanding the environmental impacts of hydropower generation. Energy markets can change rapidly and energy demand fluctuates at sub-daily scales, which may cause corresponding changes in regulated river flow (hydropeaking). Due to increasing use of renewable energy, in future hydropower will play a greater role as a load balancing power source. This may increase current hydropeaking levels in Nordic river systems, creating challenges in maintaining a healthy ecological status. This study examined driving forces for hydropeaking in Nordic rivers using extensive datasets from 150 sites with hourly time step river discharge data. It also investigated the influence of increased wind power production on hydropeaking. The data revealed that hydropeaking is at high levels in the Nordic rivers and have seen an increase over the last decade and especially over the past few years. These results indicate that increased building for renewable energy may increase hydropeaking in Nordic rivers.