The potential impact of climate change on European renewable energy droughts


The daily, seasonal, and interannual variability of solar and wind resources is well-documented, based on evidence from multi-decadal meteorological time series. However, with the growing share of non-dispatchable renewable-based power sources (e.g., wind and solar power), the stable operation of the power system could be undermined by prolonged periods of low availability of these resources. Consequently, this may result in extremely high prices in the energy market or even a power system blackout. This study analyzes the performance of solar, wind, and solar-wind hybrid systems in Europe based on eight regional climate models, considering two possible climate change projections. The resource availability has been evaluated based on the energy drought concept. The total duration of droughts is calculated using daily capacity factors covering the years 1970–2020 (reference period) and 2048–2098 (future period), considering sub-national regions across the whole of Europe. In general, the chosen climate models show a more significant agreement in the occurrence of energy droughts for northern and southern Europe compared to its central part. Assessing the potential for renewable energy droughts is critical to maintaining secure and reliable power system operation in both the present and future climate.

Renewable and Sustainable Energy Reviews