11 December 2010

Research Project: Climate Change Impacts on Hydropower in Central America

A project just tendered by the Latin American Energy Organization (Organizacion Latinoamericana de Energia, or OLADE) with funding from the Inter-American Development Bank (IADB) seeks to determine "Vulnerability to Climate Change in Hydroelectric Production Systems in Central America and Adaptation Options in Guatemala" with a specific "Study on Climate Change Vulnerability of Hydroelectric Production Systems." The project description is available in both English and Spanish from Devex and was republished in English by HydroWorld. Since much of HydroWorld is behind a subscription wall, I'm reproducing it here because I think the topic is an interesting (and challenging) extension of existing studies and might have wider appeal:
The Latin America energy organization invites expressions of interest from consultants to study the vulnerability of Central America hydroelectric systems to the effects of climate change. Responses are due December 17.

The Organizacion Latinoamericana de Energia (OLADE) has requested funding from the Inter-American Development Bank for the study of hydroelectric systems in Central American countries, including Guatemala, Honduras, Nicaragua, Costa Rica, and Panama. Because climate change is expected to affect the hydrological cycle, it could affect water resources and hydropower generation.

OLADE seeks consultants who are fluent in Spanish to collect and analyze available information on climate variability and the effects they have on the energy sector. The consultant also is to study the impact of climate change on major climatic variables in Central America.

Work is to include case studies in Guatemala, Honduras, Nicaragua, Costa Rica, and Panama of the vulnerability of their hydroelectric systems to climate change. For each case study, the consultant is to analyze the benefits and costs of adaptation to climate change. The consultant is to develop a methodology for assessing vulnerability to climate change in other hydroelectric systems of Central America and in the surrounding communities.

The work also is to include capacity building and dissemination of study results through workshops and technical meetings. The contract is to require 18 months.

Expressions of interest and qualifications are due to the address below by mail or e-mail by 5 p.m. December 17. For information, contact Organizacion Latinoamericana de Energia (OLADE), Attn.: Jorge Asturias Ozaeta, Coordinador Oficina, OLADE-Centroamerica, 23 Calle 21-12 zona 12, Oficina Subregional OLADE-Centroamerica, Edificio Direccion General de Energia, Ciudad de Guatemala, Guatemala; (502) 24196363; Fax: (502) 24196310; E-mail: jorge.asturias@olade.org, din@olade.org; Internet: www.olade.org.ec.
With lots of recent reports and new results out there regarding climate change, regional evaluations of model results, and sectoral impacts in other countries, it would be a project full of influence and impact to translate and interpret all of those resources to the Central American perspective.  The Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (ECLAC) just released a report titled "Economics of Climate Change in Latin America and the Caribbean" for presentation at the UNFCCC COP16 in Cancun, Mexico, this week.  The opportunity to flesh out the academic aspects with local research on the water research and hydropower sectors in the region would be an invaluable education in, and contribution to, international water resources and power sector planning and management.

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