Compounded Effects of Heat Waves and Droughts over the Western Electricity Grid: Spatio-temporal scales of impacts and

Wednesday, December 14, 2016 - 14:55
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Heat waves and droughts are projected to be more frequent and intense. We have seen in the past the effects of each of those extreme climate events on electricity demand and constrained electricity generation, challenging power system operations. Our aim here is to understand the compounding effects under historical conditions. We present a benchmark of Western US grid performance under 55 years of historical climate, and including droughts, using 2010-level of water demand and water management infrastructure, and 2010-level of electricity grid infrastructure and operations. We leverage CMIP5 historical hydrology simulations and force a large scale river routing- reservoir model with 2010-level sectoral water demands. The regulated flow at each water-dependent generating plants is processed to adjust water-dependent electricity generation parameterization in a production cost model, that represents 2010-level power system operations with hourly energy demand of 2010. The resulting benchmark includes a risk distribution of several grid performance metrics (unserved energy, production cost, carbon emission) as a function of inter-annual variability in regional water availability and predictability using large scale climate oscillations. In the second part of the presentation, we describe an approach to map historical heat waves onto this benchmark grid performance using a building energy demand model. The impact of the heat waves, combined with the impact of droughts, is explored at multiple scales to understand the compounding effects. Vulnerabilities of the power generation and transmission systems are highlighted to guide future adaptation.

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