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The impact of climate change on the European energy system

Energy Policy
DOI: 10.1016/j.enpol.2013.05.093
  • Climate Change Impacts
  • Heating And Cooling
  • Climate And Energy Scenarios
  • Ecology


Abstract Climate change can affect the economy via many different channels in many different sectors. The POLES global energy model has been modified to widen the coverage of climate change impacts on the European energy system. The impacts considered are changes in heating and cooling demand in the residential and services sector, changes in the efficiency of thermal power plants, and changes in hydro, wind (both on- and off-shore) and solar PV electricity output. Results of the impacts of six scenarios on the European energy system are presented, and the implications for European energy security and energy imports are presented. Main findings include: demand side impacts (heating and cooling in the residential and services sector) are larger than supply side impacts; power generation from fossil-fuel and nuclear sources decreases and renewable energy increases; and impacts are larger in Southern Europe than in Northern Europe. There remain many more climate change impacts on the energy sector that cannot currently be captured due to a variety of issues including: lack of climate data, difficulties translating climate data into energy-system-relevant data, lack of detail in energy system models where climate impacts act. This paper does not attempt to provide an exhaustive analysis of climate change impacts in the energy sector, it is rather another step towards an increasing coverage of possible impacts.

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