Climate change impact on the Northwestern African offshore wind energy resources

dmitry.sein [ at ]


Offshore wind is one of the most important sources of renewable energy. Therefore, it is crucial to assess how this resource will evolve within the 21st century, in the context of a changing climate. The North African Coastal Low-Level Jet (CLLJ) region, which encompasses offshore areas from Northwest Morocco to Senegal, has an enormous wind harvesting potential, as it provides a strong, persistent alongshore flow. In the current study, the present climate wind energy potential is featured for two heights (100 and 250m). More importantly, the climate change impact on the wind energy density in the region is also depicted. For that purpose, the newest and highest resolution regional climate simulations available are used, which include two ROM simulations (uncoupled and coupled) at 25km resolution, and 19 CORDEX-Africa runs at 50km resolution. Historical and future (under the RCP4.5 and RCP8.5 scenarios) simulations are used, for the periods 1976-2005 and 2070-2099, respectively. Overall, the results show that the annual wind energy density is projected to increase slightly in the northern offshore areas (< +10%) and decrease in the southern ones (> -10%). In close connection to the projected changes for the seasonal changes of the CLLJ system, in the further north regions (downwind Cap Ghir), the spring season shows the largest increases of wind energy, up to +20%, while in the offshore western Sahara it is projected an increase of wind energy in all seasons. For the southern areas, it is expected a decrease of wind energy.

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DOI 10.1088/1748-9326/ab5731

Cite as
Soares, P. M. , Lima, D. C. , Semedo, A. , Cabos Narvaez, W. D. and Sein, D. (2019): Climate change impact on the Northwestern African offshore wind energy resources , Environmental Research Letters . doi: 10.1088/1748-9326/ab5731

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