Summary of Key Findings
Overall for the EU and UK, hydropower is projected to increase with global warming and nuclear power to decrease. However, there are regional differences, such as increased hydropower in northern Europe and a decline in hydropower and nuclear power in southern Europe due to lower water availability for direct production and cooling of river-based plants.
In northern Europe substitution effects, i.e. increasing availability of cheaper hydropower, could result in lower production costs, while they would increase in southern Europe.
Wind and solar production are not affected significantly by global warming. Improved cooling technologies have the potential to strongly reduce the negative effects of water scarcity, particularly for nuclear plants in southern Europe.
Figure: Climate change impacts on power production in Europe. Impacts of 1.5, 2 and 3°C global warming scenarios imposed on today’s power system (static scenario); and impacts of 2°C warming on the 2050 power system (dynamic scenario), with and without adaptation of water cooling. “Other thermal" designates biomass, coal, gas and oil plants.