Table of contents

3.7. Summary of climate change impacts and adaptation needs

Table 3‑2 provides an overview of selected climate change impacts on the energy system for each of the four energy system components in each European region. In those cases where impacts for ‘neighbouring’ regions were similar, these entries were combined. The table shows that there are large differences between regions and between system components. Northern Europe experiences both beneficial and adverse impacts whereas impacts in the southern European regions are all adverse. The energy transformation component faces only adverse impacts whereas all other components are projected to experience beneficial as well as adverse impacts, including in the same region. It should be kept in mind that Table 3‑2 presents only a small selection of climate change impacts on the energy system. Furthermore, the various impacts included are of different magnitude and societal relevance. Therefore, care should be taken when interpreting impacts affecting different regions or system components.

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Table 3‑3 complements Table 3‑2 by presenting adaptation options for the key climate change risks identified, yet without regional differentiation.

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Table 3‑2 Selected climate change impacts on the energy system across regions

 

Primary energy production

Energy transformation

Transportation, transmission, distribution and storage

Energy demand

Northern Europe

+ Increase in hydropower production due to increased streamflow

+ Increase in offshore wind power potential due to increasing wind speeds

+ Increase in energy crop production as growing area moves north

± Easier fossil fuel extraction as warming increases accessibility of resources in the Arctic

- Increasing risks for coastal and offshore energy production infrastructure (wind, oil and gas) from sea level rise, storm surges and coastal erosion

- Increased risk to coastal energy infrastructure (power plants and refineries) from sea level rise, storm surges and erosion

± New route opportunities for sea transportation of fossil fuels (oil and gas) in Arctic areas due to melting sea ice

- Increased damage risks to pipelines (oil and gas) in Arctic areas due to degrading permafrost

- Increased risk to transmission and distribution grids from storms

+ Reduced net energy demand for heating and cooling due to increasing ambient temperature

British Isles

- Increasing risks for coastal and offshore energy production infrastructure (wind, oil and gas) from sea level rise, storm surges and coastal erosion

- Increased risk to transmission and distribution grids from storms and inland floods

- Increased risk to electric substations from inland floods

Central Western Europe

- Reduced output or forced shutdown of thermal power plants (fossil, nuclear and biomass) from reduced cooling water availability

Central Eastern Europe

Iberian Peninsula

- Decrease in hydropower production due to decreasing streamflow

- Decreasing potential for concentrated solar power due to water shortages

- Decrease in energy crop production due to increasing water scarcity

- Reduced capacity of transmission and distribution cables due to increasing heatwaves

- Reduced potential for pumped hydro storage due to reducing water availability and increasing evaporation

- Increase in peak electricity demand for cooling due to increasing heat waves

- Increase in energy demand for desalination to compensate for decreasing freshwater availability

Apennine Peninsula

South Eastern Europe

Note: Red text preceded by ‘-‘indicates predominantly adverse impacts; green text preceded by ‘+’ indicates predominantly beneficial impacts; grey text preceded by ‘±’ indicates impacts that cannot be classified as ‘adverse’ or ‘beneficial’ due to complex economic and environmental effects. Blue bold text indicates impacts on renewable energy; brown bold text indicates impacts on fossil energy; black bold text indicates impacts on other energy sources and carriers (i.e. nuclear, electricity, heating and cooling). [This table will be transformed into a map or infographic.]

Source: Authors’ compilation

  • fussehan (Hans-Martin Füssel) 22 Jan 2019 15:30:11

    The meaning of 'red bold' text is not explained.

    • Simon Jude (invited by Hans-Martin Füssel) 18 Feb 2019 22:24:25

       

      The meaning of 'red bold' text is not explained.

      The table formatting might benefit from some further thought as it isn't easy to interpret.  Any table that includes a long explanatory note immediately triggers alarm bells for me!

  • mahrepet (Petra Mahrenholz) 14 Feb 2019 14:32:26

    Since energy crops lead to severe sustainability challenges (i.a adverse effects on food security, water supply and ecosystems), it is highly questionable why "Increase in energy crop production as growing area moves north" is positively evaluated and "Decrease in energy crop production due to increasing water scarcity" is negatively evaluated in the table. Please reconsider your judgement and add the negative/positive aspects.

  • mahrepet (Petra Mahrenholz) 14 Feb 2019 14:37:20

    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.

  • Claus Kondrup (invited by Hans-Martin Füssel) 14 Feb 2019 16:42:21

    Concerning line 2760 and “Table 3-2 Selected climate change impacts on the energy system across regions´”, the column “Transportation, transmission, distribution and storage”: There is likely an increased risk to coastal installations due to sea level rise combined with storm surges and possibly inland cloudburst and flooding, which could be mentioned.

    In the column “Energy demand” for “Northern Europe”, there is likely to be an increased energy demand for cooling (not reduced).

  • Paul Behrens (invited by Hans-Martin Füssel) 16 Feb 2019 16:30:59

    Absolutely agree with Petra's point above. It also would be bad news for host of other environmental issues with respect to biodiversity and other ag-related impacts.

  • tsalaioa (Ioanna Tsalakanidou) 18 Feb 2019 10:43:03

    As Claus mentioned, in the column “Energy demand” for “Northern Europe”, there is likely to be an increased (not decreased) energy demand for cooling. Hence: "+ Reduced net energy demand for heating due to increasing ambient temperature" and " -Increased net energy demand for cooling due to increasing ambient temperature".  

  • kurnibla (Blaz Kurnik) 18 Feb 2019 11:42:32

    CE Europe for PEP should not be empty. There are impactrs similar CW Europe and SE Europe -related to droughts, HWs.

  • Andras Toth (invited by Hans-Martin Füssel) 18 Feb 2019 23:11:25

    No change in the impact from snow and ice on electricity transmission and distribution?

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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).

  • 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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The table shows that there are technical and/or management options to address most challenges that climate change poses to the various components of the energy system. However, many adaptation options are associated with additional economic costs and/or environmental impacts. Since the appropriateness of a particular adaptation option can vary significantly by the specific item being affected and its location, depending on environmental, technological, regulatory and other factors, there is no ‘one-size-fits-all’ adaptation solution.

  • Caroline Lee (invited by Hans-Martin Füssel) 13 Feb 2019 10:25:23

    It seems premature to include a "summary" of adaptation actions here as there has not been much mention of these so far.

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