Energy in numbers - Greece
The contribution of renewable energy sources (RES) to gross inland consumption, including large hydro, varies from 4.6% to 5.6% according to the fluctuations of the production of large hydropower plants. Approximately 2/3 of the total energy produced by RES in the Greek energy system is derived from the use of biomass (mainly in the residential sector and in industry) and the use of solar energy for water heating mainly in the buildings sector (10).
Wind share of total electricity consumption in Greece was 3.7% by the end of 2010. Overall in the EU, in a normal wind year, installed wind capacity at the end of 2010 meets 5.3% of the EU’s electricity needs (16).
During summer and especially during July and August there is a significant increase of electricity demand (due to the use of air-cooling devices) in 2070-2100 compared with 1961-1990 that varies between 13% and 22% for the scenarios examined. On the contrary, during winter the electricity demand decreases up to 7% due to the increased mean temperature (for the Α2 and Β2 scenarios of global GHG emissions) (10). The Mediterranen will need 2-3 fewer weeks a year of heating but an additional 2-5 weeks of cooling by 2050 (11).
It is estimated that in Athens by 2080 energy demand during July will increase by 30% due to air conditioning (15).
The peak in energy demand hence falls in the dry season, which is expected to become even drier in the future. A low water supply reduces energy production from hydroelectric plants, as well as from conventional power plants, which require water for cooling and for driving the turbines. As a result, energy demands may not be able to be met in the warm period of the year. Additional capacity may need to be installed unless adaptation or mitigation strategies are to put into place. On the other hand, conditions for renewable energy production, such as solar power, may improve under climate change (11).
An up to 10% decrease in energy heating requirements and an up to 28% increase in cooling requirements in 2030 has been estimated for the southeast Mediterranean region (12). Summer cooling needs will particularly affect electricity demand (13) with up to 50% increases in Italy and Spain by the 2080s (14).
The main increase of cooling energy requirementsin the northern Mediterranean will be in the south of the Iberian Peninsula, in the north of Italy, on the Balkans and in Greece, and in the south of Turkey (2). The only regions to escape any significant increase in cooling requirements are: the south of Italy (including Sicily and Sardinia), the south of France, Cyprus, the northern part of Turkey (because of Black Sea), and the northwestern tip of Spain. The largest decrease of heating energy requirementsoccurs in the northern side of the region, from Turkey to the north of Italy. Spain and France will see a smaller but still noteworthy decrease (11).
Data in Spain show that the response of mean daily demand for electricity to an increase of 1°C has steadily increased over the past 30 years. The energy demand for per degree of cooling is likely to continue to rise as a society becomes richer and increased incomes allow the population to afford more comfort. More air conditioning facilities could be installed (11).
Hydropower in Greece
For 2070-2099 compared with 1971-2000, declines in hydropower potential >15% are projected for south-eastern Europe (Balkan countries like Greece, Bulgaria, Romania, Serbia, Macedonia) (19).
The current key renewable energy sources in Europe are hydropower (19.8% of electricity generated) and wind. By the 2070s, hydropower potential for the whole of Europe is expected to decline by 6%, translated into a 20 to 50% decrease around the Mediterranean, a 15 to 30% increase in northern and eastern Europe and a stable hydropower pattern for western and central Europe (1,3,4). In areas with increased precipitation and runoff, dam safety may become a problem due to more frequent and intensive flooding events (5).
It has become apparent during recent heat waves and drought periods that electricity generation in thermal power plants may be affected by increases in water temperature and water scarcity. In the case of higher water temperatures the discharge of warm cooling water into the river may be restricted if limit values for temperature are exceeded. Electricity production has already had to be reduced in various locations in Europe during very warm summers (e.g. 2003, 2005 and 2006) (5,8).
Extreme heat waves can pose a serious threat to uninterrupted electricity supplies, mainly because cooling air may be too warm and cooling water may be both scarce and too warm (9).
Climate change will impact thermoelectric power production in Europe through a combination of increased water temperatures and reduced river flow, especially during summer. In particular, thermoelectric power plants in southern and south-eastern Europe will be affected by climate change. Using a physically based hydrological and water temperature modelling framework in combination with an electricity production model, a summer average decrease in capacity of power plants of 6.3–19% in Europe was shown for 2031–2060 compared with 1971-2000, depending on cooling system type and climate scenario (SRES B1 and A2) (18).
Overall, a decrease in low flows (10th percentile of daily distribution) for Europe (except Scandinavia) is projected with an average decrease of 13-15% for 2031–2060 and 16-23% for 2071-2100,compared with 1971-2000. Increases in mean summer (21 June - 20 September) water temperatures are projected of 0.8-1.0°C for 2031–2060 and 1.4-2.3°C for 2071-2100, compared with 1971-2000. Projected water temperature increases are highest in the south-western and south-eastern parts of Europe (18).
By the 22nd century, land area devoted to biofuels may increase by a factor of two to three in all parts of Europe (2).
It may become more challenging to meet energy demands during peak times due to more frequent heat waves and drought conditions (1). Strong distributional patterns are expected across Europe — with rising cooling (electricity) demand in summer in southern Europe, compared with reduced heating (energy) demand in winter in northern Europe (7).
Climate change impacts on electricity markets in Western Europe
The expected climate changes in the 21st century are likely to have a small impact on electricity prices and production for the energy markets of Western Europe. This has been estimated by modelling three climatic effects (17):
- changes in demand for electricity due to changes in the need for heating and cooling,
- changes in supply of hydropower due to changes in precipitation and temperature, and
- changes in thermal power supply due to warmer cooling water and therefore lower plant efficiency.
According to the model results each of these three partial effects changes the average electricity producer price by less than 2%, while the net effect is an increase in the average producer price of only 1%. Similarly, the partial effects on total electricity production are small, and the net effect is a decrease of 4%.
The greatest effects of climate change are found for those Nordic countries with a large market share for reservoir hydro. In these countries total annual production increases by 8%, reflecting an expected increase in inflow of water. A substantial part of the increase in Nordic production is exported; climate change doubles net exports of electricity from the Nordic countries, while the optimal reservoir capacity is radically reduced (17).
The references below are cited in full in a separate map 'References'. Please click here if you are looking for the full references for Greece.
- Lehner et al. (2005), in: Alcamo et al. (2007)
- Metzger et al. (2004), in: Alcamo et al. (2007)
- Kirkinen et al. (2005), in: Anderson (ed.) (2007)
- Veijalainen and Vehviläinen (2006); Andréasson et al. (2006), in: Anderson (ed.) (2007)
- Anderson (ed.) (2007)
- Rothstein et al. (2006), in: Anderson (ed.) (2007)
- Alcamo et al., 2007
- EEA, JRC and WHO (2008)
- Behrens et al. (2010)
- Hellenic Republic, Ministry for the Environment, Physical Planning and Public Works of Greece (2006)
- Giannakopoulos et al. (2005)
- Cartalis et al. (2001), in: WHO (2007)
- Giannakopoulos and Psiloglou (2006); Valor et al. (2001), both in: WHO (2007)
- Livermore (2005), in: WHO (2007)
- Giannakopoulous (2006), in: Alcamo et al. (2007)
- European Wind Energy Association (2011)
- Golombek et al. (2012)
- Van Vliet et al. (2012)
- Van Vliet et al. (2015)