Original paper

The impact of climate change and variability on the generation of electrical power

Koch, Hagen; Vögele, Stefan; Hattermann, Fred F.; Huang, Shaochun

Meteorologische Zeitschrift Vol. 24 No. 2 (2015), p. 173 - 188

39 references

published: Apr 13, 2015
published online: Apr 13, 2015
manuscript accepted: Jul 2, 2014
manuscript revision received: Apr 30, 2015
manuscript revision requested: Feb 26, 2014
manuscript received: Aug 30, 2013

DOI: 10.1127/metz/2015/0530

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Abstract

Climate variability and change affect electricity generation in several ways. Electricity generation is directly dependent on climate/weather parameters like wind (wind power generation) or air temperature and resulting water temperature (thermal power plants). River discharge as a result of precipitation and temperature, the latter being one main factor influencing evapotranspiration, is important for hydro power generation and cooling of thermal power plants. In this study possible effects of climate variability and change on electricity generation in Germany are analyzed. Considered is electricity generation by thermal power plants, wind power plants and hydro power plants. While hydro power plants and thermal power plants are affected negatively due to declining river discharge or higher water temperatures, for wind power generation no clear tendency was found. The reduction for hydro power generation could be leveled out by a slight increase in installed capacity and modernization of turbines and generators. By a replacement of old once-through cooling systems by closed-circuit cooling systems for new thermal power plants the negative impacts on electricity generation can be reduced significantly. The planned increase of installed capacity for wind power generation clearly surpasses the changes arising from climate change.

Keywords

climate changeelectricity generationGermany