Table of contents

3.2.1. Global and European literature reviews

A recent review study has critically reviewed the global academic literature on the impacts of climate change on the energy system, with a focus on supply-side impacts (Cronin et al., 2018). Almost half of the reviewed studies had a focus on Europe. Of these 57 studies, 17 addressed wind energy, 12 thermo-electric power plants, 10 hydropower, 8 bioenergy, 6 solar, 3 wave energy and 1 transmission and pipelines. The study also reviewed how climate change impacts on the energy system are reflected in current integrated assessment models of climate change, and it identified research gaps. Two earlier reviews of the global literature had a more balanced coverage of energy supply and demand (Schaeffer et al., 2012; Chandramowli and Felder, 2014).

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The global and sectoral part of the IPCC AR5 includes a section on energy, which covered energy demand, energy supply, transport and transmission of energy, and macroeconomic impacts (Arent et al., 2014, section 10.2). In contrast, the regional chapter for Europe includes two short subsections: one on energy production, transmission and use and one on bioenergy production (Kovats et al., 2014, Sections 23.3.4 and 23.4.5). This review highlights changes in hydropower potential and in bioenergy production potential, a decrease in the usable capacity of thermal power plants in summer, a decrease in heating energy needs and a large increase in cooling energy needs. All changes show substantial regional disparities, with beneficial impacts dominating in northern Europe and adverse impacts dominating in southern Europe.

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A systematic literature review of 50 peer-reviewed publications on the impacts of climate variability and change on electricity supply in Europe was conducted within the BASE project (Bonjean Stanton et al., 2016). This review study points to robust negative impacts of climate change on thermal electricity generation throughout Europe. Impacts on renewable electricity generation show strong regional variation, and the available evidence is considered patchier.

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The above-mentioned study was one of the inputs for a dedicated section on energy in the EEA report Climate change, impacts and vulnerability in Europe (EEA, 2017b, section 5.4). This section includes an indicator on heating and cooling degree days and a review of studies on changes in future energy demand, on changes in electricity production and on impacts on energy infrastructure. The EEA report presents a more recent and more comprehensive review of the relevant literature for Europe compared to the IPCC AR5, but the overall findings are consistent with each other.

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Another recent literature review was conducted within the EU-CIRCLE project, with a focus on climate change impacts on critical infrastructure in the energy sector (Varianou Mikellidou et al., 2017). Out of the 82 reviewed studies, 39 (47 %) focus on the impacts of climate change, 25 (30 %) discuss adaptation and resilience measures, and only 18 (23 %) discuss interdependencies with other sectors. The study also suggests an integrated risk management framework, which comprises three stages: (1) risk assessment, (2) assessment of interdependencies with other sectors, and (3) assessment of adaptation and resilience options.

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A brief review of the recent literature on climate change impacts on the European energy system is included in the in-depth analysis in support of the European long-term strategic vision for a prosperous, modern, competitive and climate neutral economy (EC, 2018r, section 5.9). This document emphasizes the need to address mitigation and adaptation objectives jointly.

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