Lecture 9 of series on
Environmental Meteorology: From the Fundamentals of Climate to Operational Applications
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Abstract: Wind energy is one of the key drivers of energy transition, however the flow of investments into this industry is hampered by the uncertainty of the future revenues, arising from the natural variability of the resource, the impact of climate change on wind potential and future electricity prices, and the policy risks. In this article we quantify the uncertainty of the net present value of standardized wind farms in European countries and evaluate the level and cost of support mechanisms needed to guarantee the profitability of the wind fleet under present and future climate. To this end, we build a localized model for wind power output and a country-level model for electricity demand and prices taking into account hourly variation of wind, load and prices, using reanalysis data, climate projections and Integrated Assessment Model (IAM) scenarios. Our methodology is general, but for specific evaluations we focus on the examples of France, Germany and Denmark. Our study reveals that support mechanisms in these countries are needed for wind energy to be profitable under current market prices and current climate. Under future climate, using several scenarios for climate change and energy transition, we also show that the evolution of both price and wind production does not allow the wind energy industry in these countries to develop in a free market environment and that support mechanisms will still be needed in future. The cost of these support mechanisms for a 15-year period is evaluated to 57–172 billion euros in France, 232–397 billion euros in Germany, and 18–50 billion euros in Denmark, depending on the scenario considered and the level of penetration of wind energy.