Power plants and energy systems around the world will experience potentially disastrous effects from climate change and should develop plans for dealing with those effects, according to a report released today by the World Energy Council and European researchers.
Long-term droughts, for example, could threaten water supplies needed to cool large power plants as they produce electricity, the report notes. Many energy facilities are also lacking protection from floods, rising seas, and severe weather events — a problem highlighted by the 2011 Fukushima nuclear disaster.
Strong global political action could have major impacts on the energy sector, the report says, especially if governments make a coordinated effort to invest in renewable and low-carbon energy and upgrades to power distribution grids.
Making energy systems resilient to climate change in the coming decade will require hundreds of billions of dollars from governments and industries around the globe, but most of that money is already slated to be spent keeping the current systems running, the report says.
If investments are instead directed toward lower-carbon fuels and greater efficiency, carbon dioxide emissions could be cut in the long term, the study found.