EGU24-22105, updated on 11 Mar 2024
EGU General Assembly 2024
© Author(s) 2024. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

Optimized renewable energy production for a low-carbon future to mitigate climate change and associated health impacts

Victoria Gallardo, Pedro Jiménez-Guerrero, and Sonia Jerez
Victoria Gallardo et al.
  • MAR Research Group, Department of Physics, University of Murcia, Espinardo Campus, Murcia, Spain

The transition towards a decarbonized electricity system, based on renewable energies, is urgently needed to achieve the so-called carbon neutrality and help mitigating climate change, among other reasons. At the same time, there is a need for electricity production from renewable energies to be stable in time, or to follow the demand, without substantial fluctuations. The open-access step-wise model called CLIMAX exploits the fact that wind and solar photovoltaic (PV) power present a certain degree of spatio-temporal complementarity in order to reduce the volatility of their combined production at its minimum. In a previous study, CLIMAX was used to identify optimum deployments of PV and wind power facilities across five European domains (Jerez et al., 2023). Here, using these optimum capacity density scenarios, the installed capacity per European country for the period 2012-2020 as reported in IRENA (2020), and ERA5 reanalysis data for the same period, are used to compute capacity factors, and the wind-plus-solar electricity production is estimated and compared to that from a BASE scenario with a homogeneous spatial distribution of installations. Results show that the optimization of the spatial distribution of the wind-plus-solar installed capacities does not only enhance the stability of the energy production in time, but also in terms of mean values (i.e. efficiency). More precisely, an average improvement in the energy production of +47.5 TW·h per year, integrated over Europe, is obtained as compared to BASE. Consequently, pollutant emissions from thermal power plants could have been reduced if electricity would have been produced from these renewable sources. In this work, this reduction is estimated and, in a last step, the potential reduction of human deaths related to air pollution is also evaluated. Results encourage further efforts towards a low-carbon energy future.



Jerez, S., Barriopedro, D., García-López, A., Lorente-Plazas, R., Somoza, A. M., Turco, M., et al. (2023). An action-oriented approach to make the most of the wind and solar power complementarity. Earth's Future, 11, e2022EF003332.

IRENA. (2020). Renewable capacity statistics 2020. International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA).

How to cite: Gallardo, V., Jiménez-Guerrero, P., and Jerez, S.: Optimized renewable energy production for a low-carbon future to mitigate climate change and associated health impacts, EGU General Assembly 2024, Vienna, Austria, 14–19 Apr 2024, EGU24-22105,, 2024.