Are electric utilities planning for climate change?

A few articles and reports looking at the vulnerability of US energy systems to climate change and extreme weather events.

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:

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.

By Zane Selvans

A former space explorer, now marooned on a beautiful, dying world.

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