Potential impacts of climate change on wind and solar electricity generation in Texas
Wind and solar energy sources are climate and weather dependent, therefore susceptible to a changing climate. We quantify the impacts of climate change on wind and solar electricity generation under high concentrations of greenhouse gases in Texas. We employ mid-twenty-first century climate projections and a high-resolution numerical weather prediction model to generate weather variables in the future and produce wind and solar generation time series. We find that mid-twenty-first century projections based on five global climate models agree on the multiyear average increases across Texas in direct normal irradiance, global horizontal irradiance, surface air temperature, and 100-m wind speed of up to 5%, 4%, 10%, and 1%, respectively. These changes lead to multiyear average relative changes across Texas of − 0.6 to + 2.5% and of + 1.3 to + 3.5% in solar and wind capacity factors, respectively, with significant regional, seasonal, and diurnal differences. Areas with low solar resource show an increase in solar capacity factors but reductions in wind capacity factors. Areas with high solar resource show reductions in solar capacity factors. The spatial and temporal differences in our results highlight the importance of using high-resolution data sets to study the potential impacts of climate change on wind and solar power.