Major hydroelectric facilities in ice-dominated river systems
Hydroelectric power is developing rapidly in response to increased availability of water, as glaciers melt more quickly and snow melts more often during winter. More than 80 GW of hydroelectric power is already generated in Arctic regions. Currently, much of the energy from the highest spring flows is wasted, because these flows are beyond the operational capacity of the power plants. More frequent melting and freezing of ice and snow in winter will produce a more even supply of water throughout the year, increasing the potential for energy generation. Increased water availability for hydroelectric power is expected to last for several decades in most areas. However, as glaciers and ice caps shrink, the volume of meltwater will eventually decrease, reducing how much energy can be generated.