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What can I choose in the calculator?

The calculator lets you choose the share of Hydro Dam power in the total electricity generation capacity in Switzerland in the selected year (2035 or 2050).

Hydro Dam Installed Power



  • Impact
  • Global market
  • Definition
  • Constraints
  • Assumptions
  • Value range
  • References

IMPACT – What are the impacts of Hydro Dam power?

In Switzerland, increasing the share of Hydro Dam power in the total electricity generation capacity will have the following impacts:

Energy system

image Increase the electricity storage capacity and reduce the electricity deficit.

image Increase energy independence and energy security.

image Increase the share of renewable energy sources in the energy mix.

Environment & Climate

image Reduce global CO2 emissions.

image Fish migration is affected by dams and fish can also be killed by turbines.

image Increase impacts on wildlife when an artificial lake is created.

image Increase evaporation hence disturbance to local climate.

image Increase pressure on downstream aquatic ecosystems through discharge fluctuations.

image Likely to increase deposited waste over the long term due to large volumes of concrete.

Society & Economy

image Likely to reduce the cost of the energy transition though upfront investment costs are high.

image Pumped hydro systems enable arbitrage between (low) imported power prices and (high) exported prices.

image Dams can help regulate water levels downstream and reduce the risk of flooding after intensive precipitation in the catchment area.

image The unlikely event of a failing dam poses a flash flood risk.

image Dams can hamper inland shipping movements.

GLOBAL MARKET – What is the global market for Hydro Dam power?

Hydropower is the most common form of renewable electricity and with about 3,500 TWh generated in 2010, hydropower accounted for 16.3% of the global electricity generation. The global capacity could reach 2,000 GW in 2050, a doubling compared to 2010.[1]


DEFINITION - What is Hydro Dam power?

Hydro Dam power refers to the utilisation of the gravitational potential energy contained in a water reservoir created by a dam.

The water is directed through turbines that are connected to a generator to produce electricity.

A distinction should be made between conventional, one-way, hydro power systems and systems with two reservoirs at different levels connected by pipes. The latter configuration is a way to store large amount of electricity (with 80% efficiency) by using it to pump water from the lower to the higher reservoir.

CONSTRAINTS - What are the key barriers facing the increase of Appliances Efficiency?

• Requires geographically suitable catchment areas that have to be closed by a dam to create an artificial basin; the most suitable locations have already been used in Switzerland as well as many developed countries.

• The general impacts of dam schemes are widely understood (large flooded areas, population displacement, modifications of downriver water flow …) and potential projects are therefore closely scrutinised

• Hydro projects that require the construction of (large) dams have high upfront investment costs.


Next tables contain the assumptions that have been introduced in the Hydro dam model of the calculator.

Capacity factor
2011 2035 2050
0.244 0.244 0.244

*This electricity production distribution might vary depending on the scenario. For more information on this subject go to Electricity production distribution.

CO2-eq. emissions [kgCO2-eq./kWhe] 0.00530
Deposited waste [UBP/kWhe] 0.449

Click for detailed description


MIN Value: 8.1 GW [2]. It corresponds to the installed capacity in 2011.

MAX Value:

2035 8.2GW The maximum potential is estimated to be 17.48 TWh, produced by 8.18 GW (Capacity factor = 0.244).


[1] IEA 2012, Technology Roadmap: Hydropower.

[2] Statistique des aménagements hydroélectriques de la Suisse

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hydro_dam_more_2.txt · Last modified: 2019/10/22 09:17 (external edit)