Central Asia has faced major energy and water security challenges. Technically, water from the Pamir and Tian Shan Mountain ranges could be sufficient to meet the needs of the countries in the region, if there was no temporal mismatch between the availability of water for irrigation and electricity generation. While water is required for agriculture in downstream countries during the summer, demand for hydro electricity generation is mainly in the wintertime in upstream countries. With the aid of the open-source MESSAGEix energy systems optimization modelling framework, we study a renewable energy transition in the region through to 2050, considering innovative long duration water and energy storage solutions for optimal management of water and energy resources in different seasons. The modelling approach demonstrates that the proposed "dual water and energy storage scheme", with two different hydrological cycles for up- and down-stream regions, can guarantee enough water for energy generation in upstream countries in winter while ensuring water availability for irrigation downstream in summer. This scheme is economically feasible and, with further detailed analyses and geo-political considerations, it can serve to improve energy security and water resource management, towards achieving sustainable development goals in Central Asia.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Renewable Energy, Sustainability and the Environment
- Energy Engineering and Power Technology
- Electrical and Electronic Engineering