Precipitation across the Alpine region (France, Switzerland, Austria and Italy) has been fairly abundant since mid-October. Inflows and hydropower production have increased significantly as a result.
Outlooks for the winter 2024 are also now improved when compared to winters 21/22 and 22/23. This blog will highlight the current conditions and the hydropower outlooks for Q1 2024.
The hydrological balance in the Alp region at the end of November 23 is 25 TWh higher compared to the same time in 2022. This represents a movement from an all-time low level to an all-time high situation.
Hydropower production during Nov-23 comes out between 9-10 GW (+80 %) higher than it was in November 22.
The production estimates for Q1 2024 predict between 4-5 GWh/h more hydropower than we saw during Q1-23 on average.
The hydropower situation across the Alpine region returned to normal this summer after an extremely dry period which began in autumn 2021. From mid-October this year, precipitation levels have been high across the Alpine countries. Several areas have seen severe flooding, and during November we have even seen an early build-up of snowpack in some mountainous areas. This means that the hydrological balance is currently about + 14 TWh compared to average, while this number was -10 TWh at the same time last year. This represents a massive improvement of 25 TWh (15% of yearly production).
The chart below shows just how clearly hydropower production across the Region has increased lately. The 2023 curve has continously been getting closer to, and has now exceeded, the monthly normal curve following an extremely dry 2022.
For statistical purposes we show the yearly production levels since 2016, including a forecast for December 23 in order to provide a number for this year.
Production Outlooks for Q1 2024
Based on the improved hydrological situation at the end of 2023, we see the potential for strongly increased hydropower production during 2024 (when compared to 2022).
- The hydrological balance is currently 25 TWh higher than at the end of November 22
- The hydro reservoirs are currently about 2 TWh more full than at the end of November 22
- The production level during November 23 is about 9-10 GW (+ 80%) higher than during Nov-22
Based on the current situation, we’ve assumed that the hydropower production during Q1 2024 will be 5%-10% higher than normal (assuming normal weather conditions). Notice that a high share of the hydropower production comes from run-of-river plants, which requires normal temperatures/precipitation/inflow to stay at normal production levels.
Below, you can see the weekly production curve for 2023 and the forecast curve for Q1 2024. This illustrates the wide difference between the 2024 forecast and the actual 2023 levels (weekly GWh/h).
As an average for Q1 2024, we assume 4-5 GWh/h higher hydropower production in the region compared to Q1 2023.
In the next chart, you see how the Q1 2024 difference is distributed between the single countries. France and Italy see the highest increase from 2023 as they previously also displayed the strongest deficit compared to normal levels.
These evaluations of the hydropower situation across the Alps are based on hydrological data from EQ’s database. This data is accessible from our Energy Quantified platform – which you can learn more about and sign up for free access to at www. Energyquantified.com.
More details for individual countries can also be found in the Hydrology section on the platform.
If you have any questions regarding our consumption outlook and modelling, please contact us emailing firstname.lastname@example.org