According to a Karlsruhe Institute of Technology’s researchers, climate change poses a big challenge for wind energy production in Europe. They have used spatially and temporally highly resolved climate models. The results have shown that stronger seasonal fluctuations and a more frequent occurrence of low wind are expected. However, only a slight change will happen.
The research team analyzed regional climate projections to study future changes of wind speeds and wind energy potentials in Europe until the end of this century.
They have used a model ensemble of high spatial and temporal resolution. The spatial resolution is twelve kilometers, and the temporal resolution is three hours. It helped to achieve a more precise qualification of wind power production on the regional scale. Additionally, they have used a power plant with a hub height of 100m is assumed.
The results have revealed only small variations of mean wind power production that can be expected at the continental scale for Europe by the end of the 21st century. Most probably, the variation will remain in the range of plus/minus 5% (however, in some countries it can be 20%).
According to the study, an increased variability of wind power production on different time scales has to be expected for large parts of northern, central, and eastern Europe, from daily to annual timescales. Also, over the sea areas less optimal for power production wind speeds (below 3 m per second) are expected to happen less often. Simultaneously, these low-speed phases will become more often over continental Europe. This can increase the volatility of wind power production.
Additionally, the climate change will affect wind energy productions in various areas in different ways. “In the Baltics and the Aegean, wind power production might profit from climate change,” says Julia Mömken, who is a member of the “Regional Climate and Weather Hazards” group of IMK-TRO. “The changes will imply a big negative challenge for Germany, France, and the Iberian Peninsula. However, appropriate countermeasures might reduce the impacts of climate change on wind power production.