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Table 3‑3: Adaptation options for key climate change risks for the energy system

Energy system component

Key climate change risks

Adaptation option

Primary energy production

Challenge of growing energy crops in some regions due to temperature increase and/or reduced water availability

·         Adapted agricultural practices (improved irrigation, more drought and/or pest resistant crops)

·         Relocation to different region

·         Shift to other (renewable) energy source

Damage to offshore infrastructure (oil, gas, wind) from increased coastal and marine hazards and storms

·         Climate proofing of infrastructure

·         Adapted maintenance and damage response mechanisms

·         Decommissioning of older offshore oil and gas infrastructures, for which climate change adaptation may not make business sense

Reduced hydropower production from lower reservoir levels

·         Adjusted hydropower management plans

·         Shift to other (renewable) energy source

Increased risk of damages to hydropower stations and downstream risks from flooding

·         Adjusted hydropower management plans

·         Retrofitting of hydropower plants (see the case study in Section 0)

Water shortages for concentrated solar power (CSP) technologies

·         More water efficient operations (see Box 2.2); in particular, repurposing of excess water from thermal power generation could be used to clean mirror components.

·         Dry cooling technologies

·         Incorporation of on-site energy storage facilities could compensate for sporadic energy production.

·         Investment in additional personnel for cleaning of mirror components could also lead to more efficient water use.

Increased risk of damages to various infrastructure from flooding and storms

·         Climate proofing of infrastructure (e.g. siting on higher ground, protective barriers, hardening, covers)

·         Adapted maintenance and damage response mechanisms

·         Improved forecasting and planning

·         Beach profiling to reduce coastal erosion and associated flooding

·         Dyke construction and component-based flood barriers (see the case study in Section 4.6.3)

·         Identifying relocation options

Changes in wind resources

·         Placement of new wind farms, supported by climate services (see Box 4.2)

Energy transformation

Efficiency losses of thermal power plants due to higher temperatures

·         Pre-cooling of air used in combustion

Capacity and/or efficiency decreases of thermal power plants due to reduction of and/or warmer cooling water

·         More efficient water cooling systems

·         Dry cooling technologies

·         Output losses can be compensated for through less water-intensive (renewable) power generation

Increased risk of damages from sea-level rise, storm surges, flooding and wind storms

·         Climate proofing of infrastructure (e.g. siting on higher ground, protective barriers, hardening, covers)

·         Adapted maintenance and damage response mechanisms

·         Improved forecasting and planning

·         Beach profiling to reduce coastal erosion and associated flooding

·         Dyke construction and component-based flood barriers (see the case study in Section 4.6.3)

·         Identifying relocation options

Transportation, transmission, storage and distribution

Reduced efficiency of transmission and distribution lines (overhead and underground)

·         Adjust thermal rating of equipment (see the case study in Section 4.6.5)

·         Changes to standards of operational assets (see the case study in Section 4.6.5)

·         Equipment designed for higher temperatures, including high-temperature transformers, high- temperature low-sag conductors and gas insulated lines or substations

Damage to pipelines and other infrastructure in Arctic and mountain regions from melting ice and permafrost

·         Climate proofing of infrastructure (e.g. reinforced foundations, hardening)

·         Adapted maintenance and damage response mechanisms

Increased/reduced production potential from pumped storage

·         Adjusted hydropower management plans

·         Adjusted storage (see Box 3.1)

Increased risk of damages to infrastructure from sea-level rise, storm surges, flooding, snow/ice and wind storms

·         Climate proofing of infrastructure e.g. moving cables underground, siting on higher ground, protective barriers, hardening, covers (see several case studies in Section 4.5.2)

·         Adapted maintenance and damage response mechanisms (e.g. improved preventative maintenance of vegetation near overhead lines)

Energy demand

Increased peak cooling demand

·         Greater use of demand management technologies

·         Modified building design for improved cooling

·         Efficiency standards for cooling devices

·         Early warning systems to alter consumer behaviour

Higher energy demand in water scarce regions (for desalination) and low-lying regions (pumping)

·         Increased energy generation capacity, favouring low water demand technologies (e.g. solar, wind)

·         Adapting existing flood control infrastructure to enable energy generation

Source: Authors’ compilation based primarily on (IEA, 2016b; Ecofys, 2017).

Previous comments

  • Mathis Rogner (invited by Hans-Martin Füssel) 11 Feb 2019 16:31:40

    "Retrofitting of hydroplants (see case study in Section 0)."

    I can't find any case study. Will this be included, or is this an artefact of an earlier version?

  • mahrepet (Petra Mahrenholz) 14 Feb 2019 14:36:42

    It is odd that "Easier fossil fuel extraction as warming increases accessibility of resources in the Arctic" and "New route opportunities for sea transportation of fossil fuels (oil and gas) in Arctic areas due to melting sea ice" are mentioned. Effective climate mitigation means that there has to be an early phase out of the exploitation and transportation of fossil fuels. Reduced environmentally harmful subsidies and an effective CO2 pricing facilitate this necessary phase out and stop the self-reinforcing effects of the combustion of fossil fuels on climate change. Only absolutely necessary financial resources should be devoted to conventional energy infrastructure in order to prevent environmental hazards. Societies have to especially use available funds for climate adaption of renewable energy infrastructure. We would appreciate a further elaboration of these considerations in the report.

  • sjostasa (Asa Sjöström) 18 Feb 2019 14:06:00

    “Increased risk of damages to various infrastructure from flooding and storms” could include a section of nature based/ecosystem based approaches to adaptation as mentioned in section 1463-1465.

  • Molly Walton (invited by Hans-Martin Füssel) 18 Feb 2019 18:04:31

    I might add impact of water availability on fossil fuel extraction + potential to use alternative water sources/recycling and reuse.

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