Climate change will not reduce the wind energy potential over the Black Sea

Nansen Center scientists in Bergen and St. Petersburg have jointly studied how European wind energy resources may change in the future, with a focus on the Black Sea. 

The percentage change in Wind Power Density from the historical period to the Future1 period (left column) and to the Future2 period (right column), under the RCP 4.5 (upper) and RCP 8.5 (lower) scenarios. This is the ensemble-mean change, shown for all regions where at least four of the five simulations agreed as to the direction of change (other areas are marked in grey). Source: Figure 7 in Davy et al., 2017.The percentage change in Wind Power Density from the historical period to the Future1 period (left column) and to the Future2 period (right column), under the RCP 4.5 (upper) and RCP 8.5 (lower) scenarios. This is the ensemble-mean change, shown for all regions where at least four of the five simulations agreed as to the direction of change (other areas are marked in grey). Source: Figure 7 in Davy et al., 2017.

The paper Climate change impacts on wind energy potential in the European domain with a focus on the Black Sea was recently published in Renewable and Sustainable Energy Reviews. The study, led by Dr. Richard Davy, is based on analysis of regional climate model projections for near surface winds from the CORDEX experiment. For both of the most plausible IPCC future climate scenarios it is found that there  will be a decrease in the available wind energy resources over most of central Europe during the 21st century. Whereas an increase in the projected wind energy resources was found over North Africa and in the Barents Sea. In a case study taken in three regions over the Black sea, the off-shore wind energy potential was estimated at hub-height in order to determine the extractable wind energy potential for off-shore wind farms.

It is anticipated that climate change will bring changes to the intensity and variability of near surface winds, either through local effects or by altering the large-scale flow. The impact of future climate change on European wind resources has been assessed using a single-model-ensemble of the latest regional climate model for Europe from the Rossby Centre, RCA4. These simulations used data from five of the global climate models in the contemporary Climate Model Intercomparison Project (CMIP5) as boundary conditions, and the results are publicly available under the COordinated Regional climate Downscaling EXperiment (CORDEX) project. Overall the study concluded that there was a consistent pattern of decreasing wind resources over the European domain under both the RCP 4.5 and RCP 8.5 scenarios, although there are some regions, principally North Africa and the Barents Sea, with projected increases in wind resources (see Figure). The pattern of change is both robust across the choice of scenario, and persistent: there is a very similar pattern of change found in the latter part of the 21st century as in the near-future. A case study was chosen to assess the potential for offshore wind-farms in the Black Sea region. We developed a realistic methodology for extrapolating near-surface wind speeds up to hub-height using a time-varying roughness length, and so determined the extractable wind power at hub-height using a realistic model of contemporary wind-turbine energy production. The study demonstrated that, unlike much of the Mediterranean basin, there is no robust pattern of a negative climate change impact on wind resources in the studied regions of the Black Sea. Furthermore, the seasonality of wind resources, with a strong peak in the winter, matches well to the seasonality of energy-demand in the region, making offshore wind-farms in the Black Sea region a viable source of energy for the neighboring countries in the years to come.

This study was initiated under the FP7 project Towards COast to COast NETworks of marine protected areas (from the shore to the high and deep sea), coupled with sea-based wind energy potential (CoCoNET). In CoCoNET marine protected areas in the Mediterranean and Black Seas were studied including the potential impact on marine sensitive areas and energy potential for development of offshore wind energy extraction as addressed in this study. The paper is also a part  of Dr. Natalia Gnatiuk´s PhD thesis The projections of air temperature and precipitation in Ukraine in the 21st century defended sucessfully at the Taras Shevchenko National University in Kiev on 25th May.


Citation: Richard Davy, Natalia Gnatiuk, Lasse Pettersson, Leonid Bobylev (2017): Climate change impacts on wind energy potential in the European domain with a focus on the Black Sea. Renewable and Sustainable Energy Reviews. http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.rser.2017.05.253

    

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