The Costs of Climate Change for the European Energy System, an Assessment with the POLES Model
The Costs of Climate Change for the European Energy System, an Assessment with the POLES Model / Silvana Mima & Patrick Criqui. Environmental modeling and assessment, vol. 20, n° 4, pp. 303-319.
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The paper presents a model-based approach describing the impacts of climate change on the European energy system. Existing analyses only estimate a limited range of climate impacts over a limited geographical area. Using the POLES model and the results from several climate models, the present paper quantifies the main impacts of climate change on the European energy sector, country by country, thus achieving progress in this direction. As far as energy demand is concerned, our main finding is that higher temperatures will mean that air-conditioning will consume more energy, reaching about 53 Mtoe by 2100 in a scenario with no strong emissions constraints (A1B). On the other hand less energy will be consumed for heating buildings, falling by about 65 Mtoe per year. This represents a net decrease in energy consumption of about 12 Mtoe by 2100. On the supply side, more constrained and expensive operating conditions for electric power plants will result in lower electricity generation by thermal, nuclear and hydro-power plants, with a maximum decrease of about 200 TWh in 2070 in the A1B scenario and 150 TWh in 2060 and 2080 for a low emissions scenario (E1). These effects vary a great deal across Europe and remain very dependent on the uncertainties affecting the results of the various climate models. This overall uncertainty may inhibit effective decisions. However the study offers insights not otherwise available without the full coverage of the energy system provided by POLES and climate features provided by climate models. The study identifies the main impacts of climate change in a strategic sector and provides an “order of magnitude” or “central trend” for these impacts, which might be useful in an adaptive policy of act, learn and then act again.