The effects of climate change-induced cooling demand on power grids

Rudolf Kapeller, Marianne Bügelmayer-Blaschek, Barbara Linda Herndler, Lukas Kranzl, Simon Moser, Andreas Müller, Thomas Natiesta, Johannes Reichl, Roman Schwalbe

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The trend towards equipping buildings with active space cooling technology is expected to continue, due to the
warming climate. In addition, the electrification of mobility and industry, and the massive rollout of photovoltaics,
may put Austria’s power grids under stress if adequate mechanisms are not implemented in time. This
study investigates the magnitudes of the loads induced by this increasing demand for cooling, together with the
relief that passive cooling measures can provide. Data from current climate models, measured real load profiles
from households, building stock models, and dynamic building simulations are utilised, alongside stakeholder and expert opinions, to fine-tune the analysis. This article suggests plausible scenarios for the development of the demand for cooling energy in Austria until 2050, and analyses the aggregated effect of the different options for cooling on the electricity power grid. The integration of cooling loads is expected to cause overloads or voltage violations only for a few types of grid within the periods investigated here. Subsidy programs in the building sector often do not properly consider cooling demand. Building regulations and subsidies should therefore focus on passive measures, and only when these are not sufficient should measures related to active cooling be implemented
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)674
Number of pages691
JournalEnergy Reports
Publication statusPublished - 13 Jul 2023


  • Climate change
  • Cooling demand
  • Load peaks
  • Passive measures
  • Photovoltaics
  • Power grids


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