[LE LMD PUBLIE] Climate change on extreme winds already affects off-shore wind energy availability in Europe

Off-shore wind energy plays a key role in the transition to a renewable energy system, and its usage is expected to increase in the next few decades. According to the working regimes of a wind turbine, wind energy production can be disrupted by extreme atmospheric events related to low and high wind speed. In Europe, high-speed winds are mainly associated with the passage of the extra-tropical cyclones, especially in autumn and winter.

If previously studies of wind power generation assumed stationary weather conditions, in this article we have relaxed this assumption. Focusing on the European panorama, over the period 1950-2020, we detected significant changes in the frequency of high and low extreme wind events, proving that climate change and long-term internal climate variability have already affected the off-shore wind power output. Moreover, the analysis of weather patterns showed that high and low extreme wind events can occur simultaneously in different European countries, impacting energy production on a regional scale.

Therefore, we can state that the planning of new wind farms should take into account also the behaviour of the extreme wind events, which can represent a threat to an efficient operation of the installations, and we suggest the necessity to implement efficient energy management policies, to minimize the deficit in wind power supply.

Rapella, L., Faranda, D., Gaetani, M., Drobinski, P. et Ginesta, M. (2023) Le changement climatique sur les vents extrêmes affecte déjà la disponibilité de l’énergie éolienne off-shore en Europe, Environmental Research Letters, https://doi.org/10.1088/1748-9326/acbdb2

contact: lia.rapella@lmd.ipsl.fr