Climate change puts pressure on Europe’s energy system
All parts of Europe’s energy system, from availability of energy sources to energy consumption, are potentially vulnerable to climate change and extreme weather events, according to a European Environment Agency report, published today. To secure reliable supply of clean energy, Europe’s energy system needs to adapt and become more climate resilient, the report states.
The new assessment warns that climate change and extreme weather events increasingly affect all parts of the European energy system. The most important changes include increases in mean and extreme air and water temperatures, and changes in water availability, extreme climate‑related events, and coastal and marine hazards. These changes will affect the availability of primary energy sources — especially renewable energy sources — as well as the transformation, transmission, distribution and storage of energy, and energy demand.
Some of the climate change impacts on the energy system can be economically beneficial, such as reduced energy demand for heating, but many impacts are negative for both the energy sector and the society as a whole. Such impacts include reduced cooling water availability for thermal power plants and reduced water availability for hydropower production, and increasing risks for energy infrastructure from extreme weather events and sea level rise, the assessment states.
According to the EEA assessment, climate change impacts and related adaptation needs vary significantly across European regions. In general, northern Europe will experience both beneficial and adverse impacts on its energy system, whereas southern European regions face overwhelmingly adverse impacts.