Climate Change and the Electricity Sector: DOE Guide for Climate Change Resilience Planning

From the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE), this guide provides a framework for assessing the vulnerability of electric utility assets and operations to climate change and extreme weather, and developing a portfolio of cost-effective resilience solutions into an action plan. By completing the steps in this guide, utilities can build planning-level documents that include specific actions for managing and mitigating climate change risks. The report also highlights several case studies and documents from utilities that have already developed vulnerability assessments and resilience plans for reference.

According to DOE, electricity reliability is increasingly at risk from climate change and extreme weather that can exceed the design parameters and other limits of power system assets and operations. These impacts have the potential to damage energy equipment and facilities, interrupt supply chains and operations, and cause major shifts in energy supply and demand.

The key steps within the assessment and planning framework correspond to each chapter in this guide:

1. Scope the resilience plan

2. Develop inputs for vulnerability assessment

3. Determine exposure of assets and operations

4. Estimate the consequences of climate change impacts

5. Assess vulnerabilities

6. Identify and assess resilience measures

7. Build a portfolio of resilience measures

8. Monitor, evaluate, and reassess the resilience plan

The first step is to establish the scope of the resilience planning effort by identifying the relevant needs, goals, capabilities and constraints, and stakeholders of the planning process. Steps 2, 3, 4, and 5 of this framework incorporate analytical components that relate to a vulnerability assessment. The assessment process aims to help utilities determine how their systems may be vulnerable to climate change impacts such as higher temperatures, sea level rise, changing precipitation patterns, and more frequent and severe extreme weather events.

Sections 6 and 7 describe the resilience planning process and how to incorporate climate change projections into an action plan for utilities. The resilience plan depends on information assembled during the vulnerability assessment process, including the probabilities of adverse climate events, threshold conditions likely to affect important assets or overall system performance, and the consequences or costs of climate impacts. The report discusses a range of resilience measures to include in the plan - and provides guidance on identifying these resilience options, and determining the costs and impacts of each.


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Publication Date: September 2016

Author or Affiliated User:

Related Organizations:

  • U.S. Department of Energy (DOE)


Resource Category:

Resource Types:

  • Assessment guide
  • Planning guides

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