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4.3.2. Selected national CCIV assessments for energy

CCIV assessments are an important element of preparing countries for future climate changes and of the development of NAS and NAP. Such assessments can be initiated and conducted by various actors, including ministries, government agencies, research institutions and others (EEA, 2018d). CCIV assessments covering the energy sector have been prepared by almost all EEA member countries (see Section 4.3.1). Here we present the key features of a few CCIV assessments addressing the energy system, either separately or as part of a multi-sectoral assessment. These examples, whilst not representative of all European countries, provide an insight into some of the approaches that can be taken and the outcomes of these processes.

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Ireland

The Department of Communications, Climate Action and Environment (DCCAE) has completed a climate change action plan for the electricity and gas networks sector in Ireland (Government of Ireland, 2018a). The report implemented a step-by-step approach to assess current and potential vulnerabilities, identifying and assessing adaptation options, and monitoring and reviewing adaptation plans. The approach included stakeholder engagement through public consultations during the drafting of the adaptation plan, which were then used to inform the finalisation of the plan. Electricity and gas network stakeholder groups were also established to assist in developing the scope and content of the adaptation plan. This approach allowed climate events that affected energy infrastructure and services to be directly identified by stakeholders, in addition to adaptation options to address such vulnerabilities. The key climate impacts for the energy sector in Ireland were identified as flooding, temperature increase, sea level rise and changes in wind energy. The report also identified the key items of infrastructure within the energy sector that are vulnerable to these projected climate impacts. Based on the assessment of vulnerabilities, the study drafted an adaptation implementation plan to set out measures to be taken. The recommended actions predominantly focus on building adaptive capacity through the dissemination of adaptation information, whilst also delivering physical adaptation actions through ‘building on measures already in place’, although the nature of these measures are unclear.

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The Netherlands

The Ministry of Infrastructure and Water Management has been appointed to act as the responsible ministry to oversee the development and implementation of the NAS in the Netherlands. The Ministry engages with multiple stakeholders from private, public and semi-public domains in order to implement CCIV studies and identify adaptation strategies. Through this stakeholder engagement, the Dutch Organisation for applied Scientific Research (TNO) published a report on the risks and opportunities resulting from climate change for Dutch energy infrastructure (Vogel et al., 2014). This study compares the situation (and the progress made) in 2007 (when the first Dutch NAS was published) with the situation in 2014. TNO worked closely with other organisations, such as the Royal Netherlands Meteorological Institute (KNMI), Knowledge for Climate and the Netherlands Environmental Assessment Agency (PBL). The report identified several climate vulnerabilities that should be addressed, including: the negative impacts of extreme heat and droughts on the functioning of power stations due to effects on cooling water; sea level rise and flooding damage to various components of the energy system; limited public awareness on the negative impacts of climate change; and opportunities to design and export adaptation-based products and services. Further work by PBL constructed an energy vulnerability matrix. The matrix highlighted that the highest risks posed by a changing climate were in renewable energy, transmission lines, substations, cooling water and computer systems (Eerens, 2018). The report also discussed cascading impacts of power outages, which are expected to become more significant in the future due to a higher reliance on digitalised systems.

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United Kingdom

The Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) publishes a UK-wide Climate Change Risk Assessment every five years under the Climate Change Act 2008, whilst other governmental organisations must also establish climate change vulnerability assessments and adaptation plans. This assessment yields a set of ‘urgency scores’ to prioritise adaptation actions. Energy-relevant priority actions include: researching the implications of projected changes in river flows on pipelines; researching the risks to energy from high winds, lightning, storms and high waves; and monitoring of impacts to electricity generation from low or high river flows. This has led to research priorities being adapted to include the changes to energy infrastructure required to cope with projected increased frequencies of extreme weather (Dawson et al., 2016).

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Spain

The Spanish Climate Change Office (OECC), belonging to the Ministry for the Ecological Transition, is responsible for the planning and implementation of the National Climate Change Adaptation Plan (NAS). OECC commissioned in 2015 a comprehensive assessment of climate change impacts on the Spanish energy sector, which was developed by the Institute for Research in Technology of Comillas University of Madrid (Girardi et al., 2015). The assessment process included, on the one hand, the analysis of the major climate change trends using the results from the regional climate change projections. On the other hand, the assessment quantified the expected impacts of climate change on the Spanish energy system in three main areas: energy sources, energy demand and energy supply. Water is specifically considered since it is a key resource for energy production and because it strongly affects many parts of the energy system in Spain. The assessment included a section on adaptation options and recommendations, bringing together the results from a literature review at global level and an expert consultation at national level.

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Outside Europe – USA

Countries outside Europe have also performed CCIV assessments for the energy sector, for example in the USA. A comprehensive assessment of the vulnerability of the U.S energy sector to climate change and extreme weather events was conducted by the US Department of Energy (DoE) in 2013, with input from many government agencies, national laboratories and industry stakeholders (US DoE, 2013). This assessment was a key input into the chapter on ‘Energy supply and use’ of the Third U.S. National Climate Assessment (Dell et al., 2014). The fourth U.S. National Climate Assessment also includes a chapter on ‘Energy Supply, Delivery and Demand’ (Zamuda et al., 2018).

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