That the energy sector is undergoing an unprecedented transformation in order to balance the needs of consumers and investors with carbon reduction targets is common industry knowledge. However the potential impact of the changing climate on that transition is often less well understood.
As suppliers seek to integrate intermittent generation into their business models, and policymakers and investors face long-term decisions about the future generation mix, it is becoming increasingly important to take account of the impact of climate change. On 3 November I joined representatives from across the sector at an Energy UK breakfast event to consider the potential of climate data to underpin industry’s approach.
The liveliest debate was reserved for the topic of data accessibility - how to bridge the gap between climate data science and the energy industry. The Copernicus Climate Change Service (C3S) and Atmosphere Monitoring Service (CAMS), both delivered by the European Centre for Medium range Weather Forecasts (ECMWF) in Reading on behalf of the European Commission, have a critical role to play.
Copernicus is a global network of thousands of land, air and marine-based sensors, as well as a constellation of more than 100 satellites. They make millions of observations a day to build the most detailed picture available of the Earth’s climate and to help the energy sector manage existing assets and plan for the future.
Copernicus is set to make that unprecedented volume of data - including on temperature, wind speed, UV and air quality - accessible to the energy industry in three ways:
- Providing it free of charge for unrestricted use by policy makers, public authorities, businesses and scientists alike.
- Providing forecasts for key atmospheric variables – for example forecasts of aerosol depth to help assess solar yield.
- Developing dedicated climate indicators for the sector – for example national supply and demand profiles.
It’s now been almost a year since the Paris agreement and COP 22 is just around the corner. In climate terms it has been a year characterised by extremes, most significantly all-time record temperatures. Against that backdrop, climate data has a key role to play in supporting the energy sector in transition, providing the evidence base to manage assets, ensure security of supply and reduce emissions.
Carlo Buontempo is Sectoral Information Services Manager for the Copernicus Climate Change Service – Find out more at climate.copernicus.eu and copernicus.atmosphere.eu