Virtual energy storage gain resulting from the spatio-temporal coordination of hydropower over Europe

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The viability of a renewable electricity system depends on a relatively small share of hydropower storage resources to regulate climate variations and the spatially uneven distribution of renewable energy. By spatio-temporal coordination of hydropower production over larger regions, the energy storage demand will be reduced and contribute to a “virtual” energy storage gain that in Europe was found to be almost twice the actual energy storage capacity of hydropower reservoirs. In an attempt to quantify this gain, hydropower availability was simulated for most parts of the European continent for a 35-year period based on historical hydrometeorological data. The most significant benefits from spatio-temporal management arise at distances between 1200 and 3000 km, i.e., on the continental scale, which can have implications for a future renewable energy system at large. Furthermore, we discuss a condition termed “energy-domain-specific drought”, which is a risk that can be reduced by the spatio-temporal management of power production. Virtual energy storage gain is not explicitly considered in the management models of hydropower production systems but could in principle complement existing management incentives.


  • Anders Wörman
  • Cintia Bertacchi Uvo
  • Luigia Brandimarte
  • Stefan Busse
  • Louise Crochemore
  • Marc Girons Lopez
  • Shuang Hao
  • Ilias Pechlivanidis
  • Joakim Riml
Enheter & grupper
Externa organisationer
  • KTH Royal Institute of Technology
  • Uniper AB
  • Swedish Meteorological and Hydrological Institute

Ämnesklassifikation (UKÄ) – OBLIGATORISK

  • Vattenteknik
  • Energiteknik


TidskriftApplied Energy
StatusPublished - 2020 aug 15
Peer review utfördJa