About the Project

Climate and Energy Systems - CES


The goal of the Climate and Energy Systems project is to look at climate impacts closer in time and assess the development of the Nordic electricity system for the next 20-30 years. The project started in 2007 and will finish in 2010. It will address how the conditions for production of renewable energy in the Nordic area might change due to global warming. It will focus on the potential production and the future safety of the production systems as well as uncertainties. The key objectives are summarized as:

  • Understanding of the natural variability and predictability of climate and renewable energy systems at different scales in space and time.
  • Assessment of the risks due to changes in probabilities and nature of extreme events.
  • Assessment of the risks and opportunities due to changes in production of renewable energy.
  • Development of guiding principles for decisions under climate variability and change.
  • Development of adaptation strategies.
  • A structured dialog with stakeholders.

An increase of uncertainty about the future of renewable resources under climate change is a key issue for the energy sector. Some renewable energy resources will likely increase their productivity, on the other hand, changes in the seasonal and geographical patterns of production and demand need to be managed. Disturbances and costs due to possible changes in extremes as floods, droughts or storms need to be dealt with. Uncertainty translates into riskier decisions within the sector including operational and market issues, short term responses or investments. It also calls for adaptation measures including e.g., ensuring dam safety. The goal of the project is to assess the development of the Nordic electricity system for the next 20-30 years. It will address how the conditions for production of renewable energy in the Nordic area might change due to global warming. It will focus on the potential production and the future safety of the production systems as well as uncertainties.
Working groups, flyers:

Relevance to stakeholders in the energy sector

Impacts on renewable energy sources in a changing climate is an important issue in the Nordic region with its large amount of hydropower production, development of wind power and potential for bio-energy including peat. Knowledge about past, present and future variability in climate and hydrology is therefore of vital importance to the energy sector. A change in hydro-climatological variability may lead to changes in the operation of reservoirs and wind turbines and the energy production potential itself. In particular the variability in hydropower is a great concern in the light of some very wet years and some sudden dry years, which have resulted in highly variable prices on electricity. The power industry and society needs to make long term decisions, for example, investments in new production capacity. The dam safety issue is also high on the agenda in all countries and the industry requests guidance on how to cope with the climate change in this respect. Therefore the uncertainty in the climate issue is highly relevant and the goal of this project is to improve the ability of the energy sector to handle the increased uncertainty and risk caused by climate change.

For the research community the methodology used when transferring the climate scenarios to impacts is of great interest as is the uncertainty due to choice of climate scenario and modeling strategy. It has a strong impact on the level of confidence in the scientific debate.

Well documented information about the development of the future electricity system is important for governmental agencies, policy makers and private investors. Policy makers and other governmental agencies need systematic studies of the real system when they make strategic decisions regarding use of different policy instruments or give specific concessions etc, while private investors need such information to assess profitability and risks for long-term contract management and investment planning in new projects.

Nordic benefit
The Nordic energy sector is sensitive to natural variability since a large part of the electricity and energy production is derived from renewable energy resources. Therefore, it is also sensitive to impacts of climate variability and change. The sector will thus benefit greatly from a coordinated research effort on the impacts of global change on renewable energy sources.

In particular, it will be useful for the energy sector since private and public investors need studies and forecasts for the real system to assess profitability and risks for different investment projects. Improved climate modelling will also give better hydropower scheduling in the Nordic system with considerable added value. The Nordic energy sector is an important player in the European energy market due to its capacity as well as due to the regulation ability of the hydropower. Its value is only likely to increase in the near future.

Such a study will also be useful for relevant authorities since policy makers and other governmental agencies need systematic studies of the energy system when they consider specific concessions and different policy instruments for the energy sector. The project will also strengthen and develop the cooperation between participating institutes.

Regarding its relevance to strategy and overall goals of Nordic Energy Research, the size and variability of hydropower generation and wind-power generation are critical issues for the energy balance and energy system stability in the Nordic power system at present and in the future. The project will give increased understanding of the likely development of these technologies under climate change and for the different scenarios regarding economic, technological and regulatory evolution.

The usefulness for academia lies in the multidisciplinary nature of the project which gives new insights for the project participants. Thus, the project provides a useful framework also for Nordic research education and postdoctoral researchers, contributing to enabling academia to pursue high-level expertise and a competence pool that the Nordic energy sector may draw on in the future.

Participants and organization of project
The project will be organized as a matrix structure with work groups, WG, on the renewable energy resources. Cross-cutting issues are also delegated to WG. These WG will be supported and served by a Steering group with one representative from each of the partners. An Information management group will be responsible for information dissemination, active stakeholder involvement and the public outreach. At the national level, CES-national groups will be established to secure national collaboration between the activities. Bi-annual meetings of the Steering group will be held. The individual working groups will have their workshops in conjunction with the annual meetings.

Organization of the CES Project
Organgization of the CES Project

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Steering group:

Project manager: Árni Snorrason, NEA, Iceland
Co-financer: Tom Andersen, Statkraft, Norway
Co-financer: Lars Hammar, Elforsk, Sweden
Co-financer: Kati Takala, Finnish Energy Industries
Co-financer: Elías B. Elíasson, NPC, Iceland
Co-financer: Jørgen Holmgård DONG Energy, Denmark
Bio-Energy: Seppo Kellomaki, Univ. Joensuu, Finland
Climate modelling and scenarios: Erik Kjellström SMHI, Sweden
Energy systems: Birger Mo, SINTEF, Norway
Hydropower, hydrology: Sten Bergström SMHI, Sweden
Hydropower, Snow and Ice: Tómas Jóhannesson IMO, Iceland
Risk assessment: Jari Schabel VTT, Finland
Statistical analysis: Hege Hisdal, NVE, Norway
Information management: Stefanía G. Halldórsdóttir, HugurAx, Iceland

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