The application shows the Indus basin-specific outputs of a global exploration of hydropower potential at 15” spatial resolution.
The application shows the Indus basin-specific outputs of a global exploration of hydropower potential at 15” spatial resolution. The study explored remaining hydropower potential using cost minimization algorithms to first perform economic sizing for two hydropower project configuration –diversion canal type and river power type –throughout the basin. Thereafter, the cheapest combination of the two types of hydropower projects was identified. The top panel map shows the 948 sites identified as optimal locations, differentiating between the optimal hydropower configuration, project size and the levelized cost of electricity generation for the project. The bottom panels show the cost curve for hydropower production in the Indus; this shows the relative cost of each additional unit of hydropower. The potential map and cost curves provide a preliminary optimal portfolio of hydropower projects to be used in hydropower expansion planning. Resources should be allocated to perform detailed assessment and costing of the optimal sites identified here. The costs are based on simplified global cost functions and datasets to provide a relative assessment across projects and is not intended to estimate the absolute costs on the ground.
In the Indus, over 180 TWh/year of hydropower energy remains technically feasible with generation cost up to 0.50 USD/kWh, when excluding basin cells with existing hydropower plants or protected areas. However, only 20% of the optimal sites, with total potential of 145TWh/year, are economically feasible at generation cost less than the 10 USD/kWh global threshold for cost-competitiveness of hydropower in comparison to other renewables. Nearly 80% of the available potential lies in the Upper Indus with about 57% of the sites optimized for the river power configuration. Nonetheless, it is clear from the cost curves that a combination of diversion canal and river power projects should be developed over time for cost-effective hydropower expansion.