Study assesses impact of extreme weather on energy systems

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A new method has been developed by an international team of meteorologists for calculating how extreme weather affects energy systems.

Scientists hope that the method can help energy providers adapt to a future in which more extreme weather seems inevitable due to climate change.

Energy systems – especially renewable energy sources – are highly susceptible to sudden changes in the weather or extreme weather events. Most wind turbines, for example, cannot function during high winds.

Despite this there are no current methods for calculating how future extreme weather events will affect these energy systems.

In order to fill this gap, a team of researchers developed a method which they used to analyse 30 Swedish cities, including Gothenburg, Stockholm and Malmö. In each case the researchers considered the impact to energy systems of 13 climate change scenarios.

The results showed “uncertainty in the potential for renewable energy and energy demand,” the research team wrote in a paper published in Nature Energy. Under some future climate variations they noted a gap between access to energy and energy demand of 34%.

“That means a reduction in power supply reliability of up to 16% due to extreme weather events,” the researchers noted.

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