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3.6.3. Efficiency of energy transformation and transmission

Increasing temperatures, including extreme heat, are affecting various components the of energy system. Increasing temperatures lead to efficiency losses of thermal power plants (including nuclear). The loss in power output is estimated to be around 0.5 % per degree (Cronin et al., 2018). These losses can be reduced by pre-cooling the air used in combustion, but this also consumes energy.

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Efficiency of solar PV cells decreases by about 0.4 percentage points per degree of cell temperature increase (against a typical efficiency of around 15 %) (Kaldellis et al., 2014).

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The rated capacity of power lines can be reduced during heat waves, resulting in lower transmission capacity for peak loads. Studies in the US have estimated the reduction in transmission capacity at about 1.5 % per degree of summer warming (Sathaye et al., 2013). This decrease can threaten the security of electricity supply in warm regions if it coincides with peaks in electricity demand for cooling during heat waves. Adaptation measures include installing conductors with hotter operating limits, the use of ‘low-sag’ conductor material in transmission lines or increasing the overall transmission capacity (see the case study in Section 4.6.5).

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