Climate change impacts on renewable energy supply

Renewable energy resources, which depend on climate, may be susceptible to future climate change. Here we use climate and integrated assessment models to estimate this effect on key renewables. Future potential and costs are quantified across two warming scenarios for eight technologies: utility-scale and rooftop photovoltaic, concentrated solar power, onshore and offshore wind energy, first-generation and lignocellulosic bioenergy, and hydropower. The generated cost–supply curves are then used to estimate energy system impacts.

In a baseline warming scenario, the largest impact is increased availability of bioenergy, though this depends on the strength of CO2 fertilization.

Impacts on hydropower and wind energy are uncertain, with declines in some regions and increases in others, and impacts on solar power are minor.

In a future mitigation scenario, these impacts are smaller, but the energy system response is similar to that in the baseline scenario given a larger reliance of the mitigation scenario on renewables.

This article is available on the publisher’s website via restricted access.


PBL Authors
David Gernaat Harmen Sytze de Boer Detlef van Vuuren
Other authors
Vassilis Daioglou
Seleshi G. Yalew
Christoph Müller


Publication title
Climate change impacts on renewable energy supply
Publication date
11 January 2021
Publication type
Publication language
Nature Climate Change
Product number