Cluster Energy industry (conversion, transport and supply)

The picture shows two wind turbines, a cooling tower and several electricity pylons against the setting sun.Click to enlarge
Energy industry (conversion, transport and supply)
Source: Photograph: © Stefan Loss /

2019 Monitoring Report on the German Strategy for Adaptation to Climate Change

Table of Contents


Energy industry (conversion, transport and supply)

In view of the expansion of renewable energies and coal-fired generation as well as nuclear energy being phased out, essential structural and infrastructural adaptations are required which affect all sectors of the energy industry. This includes the expansion of transmission and distribution networks, the modernisation and decarbonisation of the power plant fleet and the flexibilisation of the energy system by means of various options. Current energy management planning decisions are, by various options, linked to long-term investments. In order to safeguard stable energy supply under changed climatic conditions, these requirements must take account of adaptations to climate change.

Numerous companies have already been affected by the consequences of weather extremes and extreme weather patterns, which in future, as a result of climate change, are likely to become more frequent and more intensive. The spectrum of aspects likely to be affected ranges from resource extraction and logistics to energy conversion and distribution to consumers, involving all links in the energy management and production chain. At present, the consequences of hot periods e.g. in 2003, 2006 and 2018 are still remembered, when electricity generation by nuclear and thermal power plants was heavily restricted due to low water levels. Grid operators, in particular, had to bear the brunt of impacts from winter storms.

The nationwide analysis of climate impacts and vulnerability carried out between 2011 and 2015, entitled ‘Netzwerk Vulnerabilität’51 gave a low ranking to the vulnerability of the energy industry to impacts of climate change based on high adaptation capacity. Exempted from this assessment was the availability of coolant water for thermal power plants. However, as a result of the energy ’revolution’ and the associated declining importance of thermal power plants as well as technical adaptations made in coolant technology, the availability of coolant water has also become less important.

51 - Vulnerabilität Deutschlands gegenüber dem Klimawandel – Sektorenübergreifende Analyse des Netzwerks Vulnerabilität. Climate Change 24/2015, Dessau-Roßlau: 43.


Effects of climate change

Germany’s power supply – despite climate change one of the world’s safest (EW-I-1, EW-I-2)

Heat impacts on electricity generation in conventional power plants (EW-I-3)



Energy supply – spread among several sectors and increasingly renewable (EW-R-1, EW-R-2)

Flexibilising the electricity system (EW-R-3)

Water shortage as a problem for conventional thermal power plants (EW-R-4)