A decision support system for hydropower production in the Gesso e Vermenagna valleys.

Giulia Garegnani, Pietro Zambelli, Giorgio Curetti, Gianluca Grilli, Sara Biscaini, Sandro Sacchelli, Fancesco Geri, Marco Ciolli, Daniele Vettorato

Friday 3 july 2015

11:00 - 11:15h at Europe 1 (level 0)

Themes: (T) Hydro-environment, (ST) Renewable energy resources

Parallel session: 15G. Environment - Renewable

In the last decades in Europe, the importance of renewable energy is increasing since it could help to mitigate carbon dioxide emissions and to reduce the fossil fuel dependence of European Member States (Directive 2009/28/EC). In the European Alpine region, the main renewable source of energy is hydropower. On the other hand, one of the priorities of the Water Frame Directive (Directive 2000/60/EC) is water protection. The Alpine Space project "recharge.green-Balancing Alpine Energy and Nature" focuses on the trade-off between energy production and the pressures on nature. In this project, we develop a decision support system (DSS) that considers legal, technical, economic and recommended constraints of both the directives in order to evaluate the residual potential of rivers. The model is developed in GRASS GIS software and is a multi-disciplinary tool that, starting from water availability and elevation data, provides first information on the theoretical potential. Secondly, the existing plants and the different uses of water are considered. The mandatory provisions (i.e. the environmental flow, parks, etc.) and the technical constrains (plant efficiency, type of turbine, etc.) reduce the number of exploitable rivers. The model is applied to the area of Gesso and Vermenagna basins in the north west of Italy, in Piedmont Region. The potential sites obtained by the DSS have been analyzed and different scenarios compared. We obtain a panel of different solutions depending on the optimization choices. In conclusion, this decision support system can be a very important multi-disciplinary tool to support planning in the complex alpine area territory and to find possible alternative energy solutions by taking into account the landscape and the environment.