Regional changes in wind energy potential over Europe using regional climate model ensemble projections

Article English OPEN
Hueging, Hanna ; Haas, Rabea ; Born, Kai ; Jacob, Daniela ; Pinto, Joaquim G. (2013)

The impact of climate change on wind power generation potentials over Europe is investigated by considering ensemble projections from two regional climate models (RCMs) driven by a global climate model (GCM). Wind energy density and its interannual variability are estimated based on hourly near-surface wind speeds. Additionally, the possible impact of climatic changes on the energy output of a sample 2.5-MW turbine is discussed. GCM-driven RCM simulations capture the behavior and variability of current wind energy indices, even though some differences exist when compared with reanalysis-driven RCM simulations. Toward the end of the twenty-first century, projections show significant changes of energy density on annual average across Europe that are substantially stronger in seasonal terms. The emergence time of these changes varies from region to region and season to season, but some long-term trends are already statistically significant in the middle of the twenty-first century. Over northern and central Europe, the wind energy potential is projected to increase, particularly in winter and autumn. In contrast, energy potential over southern Europe may experience a decrease in all seasons except for the Aegean Sea. Changes for wind energy output follow the same patterns but are of smaller magnitude. The GCM/RCM model chains project a significant intensification of both interannual and intra-annual variability of energy density over parts of western and central Europe, thus imposing new challenges to a reliable pan-European energy supply in future decades.
Share - Bookmark