A systematic review of the impacts of climate variability and change on electricity systems in Europe

Produced as part of the Understanding green growth and climate-compatible development CCCEP research programme theme

Understanding the impacts of climate variability and change (CV&C) on electricity systems is paramount for operators preparing for weather-related disruptions, policymakers deciding on future directions of energy policies and European decision makers shaping research programs. This study conducted a systematic literature review to collate consistent patterns of impacts of CV&C on electricity systems in Europe. We found that, in the absence of adaptation and for current capacity, thermal electricity generation will decrease for the near term to mid-21st century (NT-MC) and the end of the 21st century (EC). In contrast, renewable electricity generation will increase for hydroelectricity in Northern Europe (NT-MC and EC), for solar electricity in Germany (NT-MC) and the United Kingdom and Spain (NT-MC and EC) and for wind electricity in the Iberian Peninsula (NT-MC) and over the Baltic and Aegean Sea (NT-MC and EC). Although the knowledge frontier in this area has advanced, the evidence available remains patchy. Future assessments should not only address some of the gaps identified but also better contextualise their results against those of earlier assessments. This review could provide a starting point for doing so.