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Quantifying the increasing sensitivity of power systems to climate variability

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Bloomfield, H. C., Brayshaw, D. J., Shaffrey, L. C., Coker, P. J. and Thornton, H. E. (2016) Quantifying the increasing sensitivity of power systems to climate variability. Environmental Research Letters, 11 (12). 124025. ISSN 1748-9326

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To link to this item DOI: 10.1088/1748-9326/11/12/124025

Abstract/Summary

Large quantities of weather-dependent renewable energy generation are expected in power systems under climate change mitigation policies, yet little attention has been given to the impact of long term climate variability. By combining state-ofthe-art multi-decadal meteorological records with a parsimonious representation of a power system, this study characterises the impact of year-to-year climate variability on multiple aspects of the power system of Great Britain (including coal, gas and nuclear generation), demonstrating why multi-decadal approaches are necessary. All aspects of the example system are impacted by inter-annual climate variability, with the impacts being most pronounced for baseload generation. The impacts of inter-annual climate variability increase in a 2025 wind-power scenario, with a 4-fold increase in the inter-annual range of operating hours for baseload such as nuclear. The impacts on peak load and peaking-plant are comparably small. Less than 10 years of power supply and demand data are shown to be insuffcient for providing robust power system planning guidance. This suggests renewable integration studies - widely used in policy, investment and system design - should adopt a more robust approach to climate characterisation.

Item Type:Article
Refereed:Yes
Divisions:Interdisciplinary centres and themes > Energy Research
Faculty of Science > School of Mathematical, Physical and Computational Sciences > NCAS
Faculty of Science > School of Mathematical, Physical and Computational Sciences > Department of Meteorology
ID Code:68191
Publisher:Institute of Physics

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