Oil and gas companies operating in the arctic and other areas impacted by climate change have been adapting their operations and infrastructure planning to the melting permafrost and other long-term impacts of their pyromania for decades, even while spreading disinformation about the same processes publicly. But are electric utilities doing the same kind of planning?
We’ve been thinking a bit about the ways in which the energy system in the US West is exposed to potential climate risks, in the context of long term utility resource adequacy and operational planning. We posted a short thread on Twitter and got some references from the #EnergyTwitter hive mind.
We thought we’d list compile them here in a slightly less ephemeral form. Many of them are journal articles behind a paywall. If you don’t have access through an academic institution, check out Sci-Hub:
- The 2018 US National Climate Assessment Chapter 4: Energy Supply, Delivery & Demand
- Effects of Climate Change on Capacity Expansion Decisions of an Electricity Generation Fleet in the Southeast U.S.
- A multi-reservoir model for projecting drought impacts on thermoelectric disruption risk across the Texas power grid
- Impact of climate change on water availability and its propagation through the Western U.S. power grid
- Fossil fuel–fired power plant operations under a changing climate
- Coal and Water Conflicts in the American West
- Future Global Convective Environments in CMIP6 Models
- Generation Resource Adequacy Forecast (WECC)
- Hydropower under climate uncertainty: Characterizing the usable capacity of Brazilian, Colombian and Peruvian power plants under climate scenarios
- Impacts of Extreme Temperatures on HVAC Load and Flexibility Capacity – Implications for Power System Operation (EPRI, PDF)
- Climate Risk in the Electricity Sector: Legal Obligations to Advance Climate Resilience Planning by Electric Utilities
- A review of the potential impacts of climate change on bulk power system planning and operations in the United States
- How Do Modeling Decisions Affect the Spread Among Hydrologic Climate Change Projections? Exploring a Large Ensemble of Simulations Across a Diversity of Hydroclimates
Overall, it sounds like there’s definitely an opportunity to bring together folks trying to model what the range of possible future weather looks like, and those modeling future energy system investments and operations to do some scenario planning. Modeling the climate, and its impacts on both energy use and our ability to produce electricity, and how different investment pathways increase or mitigate the risk of outages does not sound easy! But it could potentially influence hundreds of billions of dollars worth of capital allocation, even in just the US, and mitigate energy system fragility for millions of people.