Quantifying the benefits and costs of energy sector resilience in the US
- / Photo by Chris Barbalis
- Water and Energy Futures
It is widely recognized that energy systems would require large-scale decarbonization for the end-of-century temperature rise to be within 2°C of pre-industrial levels. At the same time, there is significant uncertainty associated with impacts of these changes as well as policy action pertaining to energy planning vis-a-vis climate change. For instance, an increased frequency of natural disasters due to climate change can potentially cause disruptions to the grid, as observed in the last five years. Similarly, depending on various feasibility levels, different regions may seek to preferentially hinge mitigation on renewables or negative emission technologies. These uncertainties necessitate a modeling framework that can evaluate costs (for example, through creating standby or adaptive capacities) and benefits (ensured electricity supply) of resilient grids consistent with carbon avoidance.
This project connects systems-level analyses with ongoing integrated assessment modeling (IAM). Ongoing IAM work is complemented in two key ways. First, Harmonizing and updating various techno-economic assessment parameters related to variable load dispatch, and characterizing geospatial differences of various grids within existing IAMs with a goal of characterizing grid resilience features. Second, Anticipating vulnerability and spatiality of stranded assets1; i.e., large investments in carbon intensive energy technologies made in the near-term future under weak climate policies, which will become obsolete and unusable under future conditions. This project optimizes the cost effectiveness of resilient energy systems by projecting regionally apportioned adaptive capacity in baseload power plants and suggesting potential pathways to reduce stranded asset risks.