Climate change impact on energy
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Climate change impact on energy

Climate change with higher average temperatures and higher wind speeds will affect energy consumption. A winter temperature rise of 2-3°C is expected to reduce heating requirements significantly. A rise in summer temperatures, on the other hand, could lead to increased cooling needs.

Increased wind speed can on the one hand lead to greater electricity production from wind turbines, but on the other hand, in storm situations wind turbines must be shut down to avoid storm damage. Increased precipitation in the Nordic region may lead to greater electricity production from hydro power. In contrast, longer periods of drought in the Nordic region may also provide better opportunities for Danish electricity exports.

Danish as well as foreign electricity distribution grids may be damaged by storm impacts. The Danish distribution grid is currently being cabled underground is expected to be fully cabled within the next 10 years. When the distribution network is fully cabled underground, the consequences of climate change will be less significant. Increased wind speeds are not expected to cause serious problems for wind turbines, since they are protected against extreme wind speeds.

Energy supply is characterised by a typical investment horizon of 10-30 years. Production plants can be adapted to new framework conditions and to a certain extent to altered climatic conditions. The existing energy production plants are relatively invulnerable to the climate changes expected in the next 20-30 years. Ongoing changeover and adaptation of plant capacities are taking place as required.

Short-term climate changes with slightly increased wind speeds are expected to mean slightly increased electricity production from wind turbines. This could increase investment in wind turbines and thus lead to expansion of this energy source. Meanwhile, it is expected that conditions such as fuel and CO2 allowance prices for our alternative forms of electricity production will have much larger influence on the expansion of wind energy.

Higher average temperatures are expected to reduce the need for heating in winter and perhaps increase the need for cooling and summer. Therefore, using the district heating system to produce district cooling could be considered. In district cooling, the energy in district heating water is used to produce comfort cooling. In this way surplus heat from electricity production at combined heat and power plants in summer can be used as an energy source to produce cooling as an alternative to electrically operated air conditioning. An example of this is under establishment in the centre of Copenhagen.