Impacts of Climate Change on European Critical Infrastructures: The Case of the Power Sector
Anthropogenic emissions of greenhouse gases cause climate change and this change in turn induces various direct impacts, e.g., changes in regional weather patterns. The frequency of heat waves and droughts in Europe is likely to rise. Yet, beyond these immediate effects of climate change, there are more indirect effects: Droughts may cause water scarcity and a lack of water supply which in turn would affect further sectors and critical infrastructures. A rising lack of water supply for cooling purposes, for example, will negatively affect electricity generation in power plants. In this paper we analyse such interplays between climate-change affected sectors. We investigate whether and to which extent power generation and supply in Europe is threatened by climate change because of the higher risk of water supply shortages due to more frequent drought and heat-wave incidences. Our proposed approach cannot only be applied to analyse the climate change effects on individual power plant sites or the overall economy but also on electricity exchanges between countries.