Table of contents

4.2.3. Developing and sharing the knowledge base for adaptation

Research and development projects

Many research and development projects and other programmes are improving the knowledge base for adaptation in Europe. The energy sector is regularly included as one of the key sectors in projects related to climate change vulnerability assessment, adaptation planning and resilience building. Relevant research and development projects funded through FP7, Horizon 2020, JRC and other sources include: PESETA III[1] (Projections of Economic Impacts of climate change in Sectors of the EU based on bottom-up Analysis), ToPDAd (Tool-supported Policy Development for regional Adaptation)[2]; EU-CIRCLE[3] (A pan-European framework for strengthening Critical Infrastructure resilience to climate change), and RESIN[4] (Climate-resilient Cities and Infrastructure), WATERFLEX[5] (Water-related modelling in electric power systems). Other projects, such as MinWaterCSP[6] (Minimized water consumption in CSP plants) and WASCOP[7] (Water Saving for Concentrated Solar Power), focus on development of innovative climate-resilient solutions for the renewable energy sector, for example for concentrated solar power.

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Climate change adaptation needs in the energy sector have also been the subject of specific studies commissioned by DG CLIMA (Ecofys, 2017) and DG Energy (Rademaekers et al., 2011).

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Climate services

The Copernicus Climate Change Service (C3S)[8] is an important new service and source of relevant climate information for various sectors. C3S aggregates satellite and in-situ data to provide various services to a wide range of actors in Europe, such as public institutions, private enterprises, scientific organisations and citizens. The data can be utilised to improve decision making and planning of climate adaptation measures. C3S also provides climate change indicators and visualisation tools tailored for the energy sector through the Sectoral Information System, building on two demonstrator projects: CLIM4ENERGY[9] and European Climatic Energy Mixes (ECEM)[10]. Other products offered include the Climate Data Platform, which provides historical climate data, trends, and seasonal and long-term forecasts. Such services can support the planning of hydroelectric dam placement, assist solar generators to plan for adverse conditions, provide predictive models to assess conditions for grid upgrades, and help predict potential yield of wind and solar generation sites. Copernicus is one of the few EU-wide information platforms with specific content and tools relating to the energy system or sector.

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The EC further supports the development of climate services through co-funding the European Research Area for Climate Services (ERA4CS[11]) under the Joint Programming Initiative (JPI) Climate[12]. ERA4CS is funding many projects related to the development of climate services (for an overview, see JPI Climate, 2017). Several of these projects are targeted at the energy sector, including CLARA[13] (Climate forecast enabled knowledge services), CLIM2POWER[14] (Translating Climate Data into Power Plant Operational Guidance), MARCO[15] (Market research for a Climate Services Observatory), PUCS[16] (Pan-European Urban Climate Services), S2S4E[17] (Sub-seasonal to Seasonal climate forecasting for Energy), SECLI-FIRM[18] (Added Value of Seasonal Climate Forecasting for Integrated Risk Assessment) and WINDSURFER[19] (WIND and wave Scenarios, Uncertainty and climate Risk assessments for Forestry, Energy and Reinsurance). Several of these projects include case studies that demonstrate the value of climate services (with different time horizons) for various stakeholders from the energy sector. Another project, funded under Horizon 2020, that is developing climate services with relevance for the energy sector is IMPREX[20] (Improving Predictions and Management of Hydrological Extremes).

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Climate services can help different actors in the energy system to improve operational and strategic decisions by considering relevant information about climate variability and change over various time scales. The recently formed World Energy and Meteorology Council (WEMC)[21] can facilitate progress in understanding the link between climate, weather and energy, and in using relevant information (Troccoli et al., 2014, 2018; Troccoli, 2018). Further information on the development of climate services with relevance for the energy sector at the national and sub-national level is available in Section 4.3.5.

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Adaptation guidelines

Early consideration of climate change requirements in project development cycles facilitates cost-efficient integration of resilience measures. Various European institutions and organisations have produced guidelines to facilitate inclusion of resilience measures in projects seeking EU funding.

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The EC has produced guidelines for actors seeking funding for major projects (i.e. projects with costs exceeding €50 million) (EC, 2016a). These guidelines give an indication of activities that should be carried out in the development of major projects. Adaptation-relevant activities include: implementing vulnerability and risk assessments; considering environment and climate change aspects; factoring in technical aspects during design; implementing adaptation measures; and monitoring of critical climate hazards. The guidance document provides an indication of how to conduct vulnerability and risk assessments through providing a sample method for project managers on how to make infrastructure climate resilient. The method places particular emphasis on: selecting scenarios that incorporate realistic global temperature rises; selecting a timescale for the vulnerability and risk assessment that corresponds to the intended lifespan of the investment; and taking into account significant changes in weather events which could hamper the project.

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The European Financing Institutions Working Group on Adaptation to Climate Change (EUFIWACC) has developed practical guidance for project managers to incorporate appropriate climate resilient measures within project development. The guidance gives a list of important considerations to make during the scoping, planning and design, analysis of costs and benefits, and the evaluation and monitoring periods of projects. The guidance is intended to be applicable to a diverse array of actors, including in the energy system. It therefore establishes a broad-brush approach to incorporating adaptation-based measures in projects (EUFIWACC, 2016).

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The EC has also supported the development of guidelines for adaptation in the energy system in developing countries through the EU Energy Initiative Partnership Dialogue Facility (Stuart, 2017).

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Adaptation platforms

Adaptation platforms web-based adaptation platforms are web-based portals that provide information relevant for adaptation policy-making and/or adaptation planning to a range of stakeholders. The leading European adaptation platform is Climate-ADAPT, co-managed by the EEA and the EC. Many countries have also developed national adaptation platforms (EEA, 2015, 2018g).

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