More than 60% of the world’s power stations could be affected by a lack of water due to climate change, according to a new report.

The International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis (IIASA) in Austria warned that a lack of water in rivers and streams could affect both hydro-electric schemes.

Thermo-electric plants – such as coal- and gas-fired power stations, biomass boilers and nuclear plants – could also be threatened because they use water as a coolant.

The study used data from 24,515 hydro-power and 1,427 thermo-electric power plants worldwide.

Vulnerable regions include US

IIASA Energy Program Director Keywan Riahi said: “This is the first study of its kind to examine the linkages between climate change, water resources, and electricity production on a global scale.

“We clearly show that power plants are not only causing climate change, but they might also be affected in major ways by climate.”

Researcher Michelle Van Vliet added: “In particular, the United States, southern South America, southern Africa, central and southern Europe, Southeast Asia and southern Australia are vulnerable regions, because declines in mean annual streamflow are projected combined with strong increases in water temperature under changing climate.”

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