Impact of climate change on integrated resource systems- Insights from selected East African case studies

Time: Mon 2020-05-04 10.00

Location:, Stockholm (English)

Subject area: Energy Technology

Doctoral student: Vignesh Sridharan , Energisystemanalys, Division of Energy Systems

Opponent: Professor Sonia Yeh, Chalmers University, Department of Space, Earth and Environment, Physical Resource Theory

Supervisor: Professor Mark I. Howells, Energisystemanalys; Universitetslektor William Usher,


With countries revisiting their climate pledges agreed at the conference of parties (COP) in Paris, in 2015, the discussion on the impact of changes in the long-term climate on natural resources has never been more relevant. Specifically, since the 2011 Bonn conference on the nexus between resource systems, the interlinkages between energy, water and land resource systems and their climatic connections are on the radar. Despite the excitement around the nexus between the climate, land, energy and water (CLEW) systems, they are still explored in isolation in many countries. This has resulted in lopsided policies, making long-term infrastructure investments vulnerable to climatic changes. This dissertation, taking the case of the Eastern African region, adds to this discussion on resource interactions, sectoral policy decisions and climate resilience. This dissertation includes a cover essay and four appended papers. By employing regional (East Africa) and national (Uganda) case studies, quantitative methods are presented addressing three research questions, relevant to the discussion on climate change and its impact on key resource systems. This thesis combines the usage of two modelling frameworks and downscaled climatic data to emphasise the need for an integrated approach to adapt to climate change. First, the climate resilience of electricity supply expansion strategies is evaluated for the countries in the Eastern African Power Pool (EAPP). Our results highlight that the opportunity costs in planning for a slightly wetter climate than the baseline are less than adapting for a drier one. The potential of electricity interconnectors in mitigating the impact of climate change is also evaluated. The national-level study on Uganda explores the effect of climatic change on a hydropower dominated electricity sector by taking into consideration different minimum river flow regulations. This dissertation finds that even under the cumulatively wettest climate future, having flow constraints will lead to a reduction in hydropower generation. This is critical to energy planners while making important decisions on future electricity supply infrastructure. This thesis also generates datasets on climate and region-specific crop-yield variability in Uganda. For the first time, the water and energy implications of implementing the national irrigation master plan in Uganda are analysed. The results of this dissertation led to interesting conclusions on the importance of climate-model and emission-scenario selection. Finally, by using an integrated model setup—consisting of energy, water and land systems—this thesis emphasises the importance of understanding the cross-propagative effects that policies enacted on one resource system can have on other interlinked systems. Thereby, it emphasises the need for a cohesive, integrated and collaborative approach to policymaking.