AGU Highlight: Impacts of Climate Change on State’s Electricity Infrastructure

December 4, 2012

How will higher temperatures, increased wildfire frequency and sea level encroachment affect California’s power plants and transmission lines? A study by Lab researchers Larry Dale and Jayant Sathaye found that atmospheric warming may necessitate up to 38 percent additional peak generation capacity and up to 31 percent additional transmission capacity by the end of the century. Further, up to 25 coastal power plants and 86 substations are at risk of flooding or compromised operation due to sea level rise and storm surges. However, the study concluded that large negative impacts from climate change are avoidable. They presented their report Monday at the annual meeting of the American Geophysical Union in San Francisco.

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