Climate Change and Energy Systems

Impacts, Risks and Adaptation in the Nordic and Baltic countries

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Renewable energy sources contribute 16% of the global energy consumption and most nations are working to increase the share of renewables in their total energy budget, to reduce the dependence on fossil fuel sources. Most Nordic and Baltic countries have already surpassed the target set for EU countries by 2020, to produce 20% of energy use from renewables like hydropower, solar energy, wind power, bio-energy, ocean power and geothermal energy. This publication presents results from a comprehensive research project that investigated the effects of projected future climate change on hydropower, wind power and bioenergy in the Nordic and Baltic countries, with focus on the period 2020-2050. The research group investigated historical climate, runoff and forest growth data and produced climate scenarios for the region based on global circulation models. The scenarios were used as input in models forecasting changes in glacial meltwater production, basin-wide runoff, mean wind strength, extreme storm and flooding events and energy biomass production. Although the uncertainty in modelling results translates into increased risks for decision-making within the energy sector, the projected climate change is predicted to have a largely positive impact on energy production levels in the region, and energy systems modelling projects increased export of energy to continental Europe by 2020.



The effects of climate change on power & heat plants – assessing the risks and opportunities

It is important for decision makers to acknowledge and consider the impacts of climate change on Nordic renewable energy resources with regards to strategies for energy production and distribution. There is a need to produce information based on risk assessments for investors through short-term studies which take into account both the impacts of changing climate on power production and the uncertainties of these impacts. Since the life-time of power plant investments is usually less than 40 years, there is seldom a need for a longer planning period in an economic study. Private investors also tend to focus more on the near future because of the interest rate and because of the larger uncertainty surrounding the distant future. Recognising and identifying risks associated with changes in weather patterns is an important step towards planning of new infrastructure investments and mitigating potential damage to existing power production, transmission and distribution systems.


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