Sector coupling and electrification are expected to play a crucial role in the energy systems of the future, with wind and solar generation providing the vast majority of all energy demand. When, e.g., heating and transportation sectors are electrified, the clean variable renewable energy (VRE) generation allows Europe to reach its ambitious CO2 reduction targets across the entire energy system.
However, the growing installations of such weather dependent generation can cause challenges to the operation and planning of power systems. As, e.g., electric load and hydro generation also depend on weather, the future power and energy systems will be highly weather dependent. Going towards 2050, with also climate change having an impact, understanding these weather dependencies and their impacts on the system-level is crucial.
Using advanced meteorological modelling and power system analysis, the Power system impacts of highly weather dependent future energy systems (PSfuture) project helps to ensure that power systems are prepared for such highly weather dependent energy systems of the future, and that they can continue their reliable operation with as low costs as possible.
A key development in PSfuture is to take large-scale climate change scenarios and translate them to European-wide time series data (e.g., wind speed, irradiation, temperature). The meteorological time series, which drive both VRE generation and electric load, are crucial inputs to system-level studies. Such studies need both higher temporal and geographical resolution than usually given in the climate change scenarios. These time series are then used in power and energy system analyses towards 2050 to include the effects of climate change in the studies. As climate change progression is uncertain, multiple scenarios will be modelled. Adequacy and system balancing studies will be carried out to model the impacts of the different scenarios on the European power systems.
The energy systems of today are going through fundamental changes to reach the CO2 reduction targets to stop the worst effects of climate change. Electricity generation is already getting much cleaner thanks to the growing shares of wind and solar power.
However, other energy system sectors, such as heating and transportation, are still highly fossil fuel dependent. Sector coupling and electrification are ways to get also these sectors to benefit from clean electric power generation. For example for heating, it means that current fossil fuel based systems will be replaced largely by electric solutions, such as heat pumps. With wind and solar power producing the vast majority of all energy, studies show that such sector-coupled scenarios can provide significant CO2 reductions going towards 2050.
The growing installations of wind and solar power, which are driven by weather patterns, can cause challenges to the operation and planning of electric power systems. To reach the sustainable renewables-based future, a fundamental transition from the current fossil fuel dependent energy systems to clean but highly weather dependent energy systems of the future is required. Although studies have shown that such future scenarios are possible, there are still issues related to the power systems impacts of the transition that need to be studied and resolved. In addition, the impacts of climate change to the weather dependencies and their impacts on the system-level require further research.
Using advanced meteorological modelling and power system analyses, the Power system impacts of highly weather dependent future energy systems (PSfuture) project helps to ensure that power systems are prepared for such sector coupled energy systems of the future, and that they can continue their reliable operation with as low costs as possible, considering also the impacts of climate change. With European-wide analyses, the project enables Europe to reach the ambitious CO2 reduction targets going towards 2050.