Wind droughts and winter cold threaten Europe's future energy security (Speaker: Karin van der Wiel, KNMI)

sep 19
Wanneer 19 september 2019, aanvang 15:30
Waar Buys Ballotzaal, KNMI

Speaker: Karin van der Wiel, KNMI

To mitigate climate change a renewable energy transition is needed. Existing power systems will need to be re-designed to balance variable renewable energy production with variable energy demand. I will describe the meteorological sensitivity of a highly-renewable European energy system based on large ensemble simulations from two global climate models. From 2×2000 years of simulated weather conditions, we calculated daily wind and solar energy yields and energy demand and selected events of high societal impact: extreme high energy shortfall (residual load, i.e. demand minus renewable production). High energy shortfall days are characterized by large-scale high pressure systems over central Europe, with lower than normal wind speeds and below normal temperatures, driving up energy demands. The events typically occur mid-winter, locked to the coldest months of the year. Near-stationary high pressure situations occur that cause long lasting periods of high energy shortfall. A spatial redistribution of wind turbines and solar panels cannot prevent these high-impact events, options to import renewable energy from remote locations during these events are limited. Projected changes due to climate change are substantially smaller than interannual variability. Future power systems with large penetration of variable renewable energy must be designed with these events in mind. Finally, I will discuss the influence of North Atlantic weather regimes on renewable energy production, energy demand and energy shortfall. Days with a blocked circulation pattern on average have lower than normal renewable power production, higher than normal energy demand and therefore, higher than normal energy shortfall. However such average effects hide large variability of energy parameters within regimes. We show extreme events can occur in all regimes, limiting the merit of weather regimes for detailed energy forecasts.