What is it about?

Climate change affects not only the local renewable energy resources such as wind and solar energy but also the earthbound infrastructure involved in their generation and distribution. As countries around the world increasingly invest in such infrastructures, there is a need to quantify the effects of climate change on long-term renewable energy production. The authors of this 2020 study explored the extent to which climate change can disrupt the renewable energy landscape in Australia, a country headed towards a renewable energy-based future.

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Why is it important?

Depending on the volume of greenhouse gas likely to be emitted in the future years, the climate future is predicted to follow one of the four trails or Representative Concentration Pathways (RCP): RCP 2. 6, RCP 4. 5, RCP 6, and RCP 8. These range from very low (RCP 2. 6) to very high (RCP 8. 5) future greenhouse gas concentrations. Australia is a land of extreme climate conditions. To assess the effect of climate change in the background of such temporal variabilities, the authors modeled their projection on RCP 8.5, which represents the largest possible change arising from future global warming. They collected and analysed the data for key climate events between 1980 and 2060 at two renewable energy generation sites in Australia. The findings revealed that while climate change effects on annual solar and wind power generation were small in general, the impact was substantially larger during peak temperature events. KEY TAKEAWAY: Energy demands and prices are heightened during extreme temperature conditions. Any disruption in renewable energy production during such conditions has heavy financial implications. Therefore, policymakers should consider the temperature impacts on renewable energy infrastructure while making policy recommendations and investment.

Read the Original

This page is a summary of: Temperature impacts on utility-scale solar photovoltaic and wind power generation output over Australia under RCP 8.5, Journal of Renewable and Sustainable Energy, July 2020, American Institute of Physics, DOI: 10.1063/5.0012711.
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