Hydropower is central to the implementation of the Energy Strategy 2050 because electricity production is emission-free and flexible. It also allows the storage of excess energy from other power sources, such as photovoltaics or nuclear power plants, in pumped storage power stations and its release at times of high demand. A lucrative business model for many years, times have now changed and uncertainty characterises the use of hydropower: overproduction on the European market and low prices for fossil fuels have caused wholesale prices to collapse. In addition, dams, pressure tunnels and turbine houses are expensive, have long service lives and amortization periods, and the concessions required for hydropower plants are not very flexible, which makes it impossible to quickly adapt the dimensions of a power plant. Changes in water volumes due to climate change cause additional uncertainty.
So how can hydropower plants continue to be operated at a profit? This question was addressed by the scientists working on this research project.