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Analysis & performance

Scientific publication

Impacts of +2°C global warming on electricity demand in Europe

Publication from Life
Weather and Climate Risk Management

Damm A., , Landgren O., Prettenthaler F., Rogler N., Töglhofer C.:

Climate Services, in press , 12/2016


The electricity sector is not only a substantial source of carbon emissions, but also vulnerable to climate change, both due to the growing share of renewables and due to temperature related changes in seasonal demand patterns. In this study we provide information on the impacts of +2 C global warming on heating and cooling electricity demand for 26 European countries, based on 11 EURO-CORDEX climate simulations, presenting mean changes but also weather-induced changes in peak demand. Smooth transition regression models are used to estimate the relationship between daily electricity consumption and population weighted temperature. Assuming present demographic and economic structures, global warming by 2 C reduces electricity consumption in most European countries. The reduced heating electricity demand outweighs the increase in cooling demand. The highest decrease in relative terms is found for Norway (up to 5.2%), followed by Sweden, Estonia, Finland, and France. Italy is the only country for which an overall increase in electricity demand is projected. The decrease of electricity demand in absolute terms is projected to be by far the highest in France (between 10 TW h and 16 TW h p. a.). In most countries peak demand of electricity for cooling and heating increases, whereby climate scenario uncertainties in case of heating are high. Altogether, a cross-country comparison heavily suggests that climate is not the main driver for the amount of electricity used for heating and cooling purposes, but rather energy policy.  2016 The Authors. Published by Elsevier B.V. This is an open access article under the CC BY-NC-ND license (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/4.0/).