ENERGY SECURITYClimate Change Puts Energy Security at Risk

Published 11 October 2022

Climate change, and the more extreme weather and water stress that it causes, is undermining global energy security by directly affecting fuel supply, energy production, and the physical resilience of current and future energy infrastructure. In 2020, 87 percent of global electricity generated from thermal, nuclear, and hydroelectric systems directly depended on water availability. Meanwhile, 33 percent of the thermal power plants that rely on freshwater availability for cooling are in high water stress areas. This is also the case for existing nuclear power plants, 25 percent of which will soon find themselves in high water stress areas.

The supply of electricity from clean energy sources must double within the next eight years to limit global temperature increase. Otherwise, there is a risk that climate change, more extreme weather and water stress will undermine our energy security and even jeopardize renewable energy supplies, according to a new multi-agency report from the World Meteorological Organization (WMO).

WMO’s State of Climate Services annual report, which includes inputs from 26 different organizations, focuses on energy this year because it holds the key to international agreements on sustainable development and climate change and, indeed, to the planet’s health.

“The energy sector is the source of around three-quarters of global greenhouse gas emissions. Switching to clean forms of energy generation, such as solar, wind and hydropower – and improving energy efficiency – is vital if we are to thrive in the twenty-first century. Net zero by 2050 is the aim. But we will only get there if we double the supply of low-emissions electricity within the next eight years,” said WMO Secretary-General Prof Petteri Taalas.

“Time is not on our side, and our climate is changing before our eyes. We need a complete transformation of the global energy system,” says Prof. Taalas.

Access to reliable weather, water and climate information and services will be increasingly important to strengthen the resilience of energy infrastructure and meet rising demand (an increase of 30% in the past ten years).

The 2022 State of Climate Services: Energy report has plenty of good news. It highlights the huge opportunities for green powered grids to help tackle climate change, improve air quality, conserve water resources, protect the environment, create jobs and safeguard a better future for us all.

The report includes practical case studies.

·  Early weather warnings are safeguarding energy supply in Beijing, China.

·  Climate stress tests are ensuring electricity is suitably distributed in the Italian Dolomites.

·  Warning systems in Tajikistan are providing advance notice of dry conditions for hydropower operations planning.

·  Localized wind-resource information is aiding wind industry decision-making;

·  Solar radiation measurements are supporting the placement of solar panels on noise barriers in Germany.