The objective of this master thesis is to analyse the spatial and temporal variability of the hydropower potential in Austria and to discuss the variability of the hydropower potential in the context of energy consumption. Focus in this study is the theoretical potential of hydropower in Austria, limited by the availability of streamflow and topography. Differences to the available hydropower potential, which is also limited by the efficiency of hydropower plants and technical, legal, ecological and economic limitations, are discussed. Two time periods are analysed in this study. First, the variability of the hydropower potential in the period 1976 to 2006, as a measure of today's hydropower potential, is analysed. Second, based in climate change scenarios, the spatial and temporal variability of future hydropower potential for the period 2021 to 2050 are estimated. To analyse the today's spatial and temporal variability of the hydropower potential, observed streamflow of 637 gauging stations in Austria are mapped to the stream network by Topkriging. Topkriging is an extension of traditional geostatistical methods, which takes the nested structure of the stream network into account. A new method to account for confluence issues is implemented into the Topkriging procedure.
Based on estimated streamflow rates and topography the hydropower potential is estimated and the spatial and inter-annual variability is analysed. The future changes in the variability of hydropower potential are analysed by using a hydrological model at 637 gauging stations driven with a climate change scenario and using the Topkriging procedure for mapping the streamflow to the stream network. To account for uncertainty in the climate change scenarios a delta change approach is used. For the period 1976 to 2006 a hydropower potential of 144TWh/a, assuming a power plant efficiency of 0.87, is estimated for Austria. As expected, the highest hydropower potential rates are found in the High Alps and along the Danube. The hydropower potential is particular high in spring and summer. The analysis of future predictions of the hydropower potential reveals that there is only a small increase in the total potential in Austria, in the order of 1%. However, there is a shift in the inter-annual variability of hydropower potential with more potential in winter and lower potential in summer. Finally, the spatial and temporal variability of hydropower potential in Austria is discussed in the context of the development of energy consumption in Austria, the availability of renewable energy and the European directive 2009/28/EC on the promotion of the use of energy from renewable sources.