Potential impacts of climate change on European wind energy resource under the CMIP5 future climate projections

Highlights

Climate change impacts on Europe wind energy resource were analysed using CMIP5 data.

Future European wind energetic resource can increase in the Baltic Sea.

Future European wind energetic resource can decrease in Southern Europe.

Intra-annual variability can increase/decrease in the Baltic Sea/Southern Europe.

Changes are higher under stronger radiative forcing and by the end of the 21st century.

Abstract

Climate change impact on future European large-scale wind energy resource under the latest IPCC CMIP5 future climate projections were analysed. After assessing the models that best reproduce contemporary near-surface wind speeds over Europe, their data was used to assess future changes in the wind energetic resource in Europe.

Using a multi-model ensemble composed by the models that showed the best ability to represent contemporary near-surface wind speeds over Europe, the future European large-scale wind energetic resource is projected to increase in Northern-Central Europe (Baltic Sea and surrounding areas), and decrease in the Mediterranean region, mainly by the end of the current century and under stronger radiative forcing scenarios. It is also projected an increase of the intra-annual variability in the Baltic Sea and surrounding areas and a decrease in Mediterranean areas, but no significant changes in the inter-annual variability are expected over Europe.

Despite the large uncertainty associated to future climate projections, the findings of this work can serve as background for future downscaling of CMIP5 data to regional-local scales focused on climate change impacts on wind energy, and should be seen as a preliminary warning that a continuous increase of greenhouse gases emissions are expected to impact European wind energy production.

Keywords

  • Wind energy;
  • Climate change;
  • CMIP5;
  • IPCC;
  • Global models;
  • Europe

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