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Physical Impacts of Climate Change on the Western US Electricity System: A Scoping Study

Description: This paper presents an exploratory study of the possible physical impacts of climate change on the electric power system, and how these impacts could be incorporated into resource planning in the Western United States. While many aspects of climate change and energy have been discussed in the literature, there has not yet been a systematic review of the relationship between specific physical effects and the quantitative analyses that are commonly used in planning studies. The core of the problem is to understand how the electric system is vulnerable to physical weather risk, and how to make use of information from climate models to characterize the way these risks may evolve over time, including a treatment of uncertainty. In this paper, to provide the necessary technical background in climate science, we present an overview of the basic physics of climate and explain some of the methodologies used in climate modeling studies, particularly the importance of emissions scenarios. We also provide a brief survey of recent climate-related studies relevant to electric system planning in the Western US. To define the institutional context, we discuss the core elements of the resource and reliability planning processes used currently by utilities and by the Western Electricity Coordinating Council. To illustrate more precisely how climate-related risk could be incorporated into modeling exercises, we discuss three idealized examples. Overall, we argue that existing methods of analysis can and should be extended to encompass the uncertainties related to future climate. While the focus here is on risk related to physical impacts, the same principles apply to a consideration of how future climate change policy decisions might impact the design and functioning of the electric grid. We conclude with some suggestions and recommendations on how to begin developing this approach within the existing electric system planning framework for the ...
Date: December 1, 2008
Creator: Coughlin, Katie & Goldman, Charles
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Biofuels: A Solution for Climate Change

Description: Our lives are linked to weather and climate, and to energy use. Since the late 1970s, the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) has invested in research and technology related to global climate change. DOE's Office Fuels Development (OFD) manages the National Biofuels Program and is the lead technical advisor on the development of biofuels technologies in the United States. Together with industry and other stakeholders, the program seeks to establish a major biofuels industry. Its goals are to develop and commercialize technologies for producing sustainable, domestic, environmentally beneficial, and economically viable fuels from dedicated biomass feedstocks.
Date: October 4, 1999
Creator: Woodward, S.
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Assessing the near-term risk of climate uncertainty : interdependencies among the U.S. states.

Description: Policy makers will most likely need to make decisions about climate policy before climate scientists have resolved all relevant uncertainties about the impacts of climate change. This study demonstrates a risk-assessment methodology for evaluating uncertain future climatic conditions. We estimate the impacts of climate change on U.S. state- and national-level economic activity from 2010 to 2050. To understand the implications of uncertainty on risk and to provide a near-term rationale for policy interventions to mitigate the course of climate change, we focus on precipitation, one of the most uncertain aspects of future climate change. We use results of the climate-model ensemble from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change's (IPCC) Fourth Assessment Report 4 (AR4) as a proxy for representing climate uncertainty over the next 40 years, map the simulated weather from the climate models hydrologically to the county level to determine the physical consequences on economic activity at the state level, and perform a detailed 70-industry analysis of economic impacts among the interacting lower-48 states. We determine the industry-level contribution to the gross domestic product and employment impacts at the state level, as well as interstate population migration, effects on personal income, and consequences for the U.S. trade balance. We show that the mean or average risk of damage to the U.S. economy from climate change, at the national level, is on the order of $1 trillion over the next 40 years, with losses in employment equivalent to nearly 7 million full-time jobs.
Date: April 1, 2010
Creator: Loose, Verne W.; Lowry, Thomas Stephen; Malczynski, Leonard A.; Tidwell, Vincent Carroll; Stamber, Kevin Louis; Reinert, Rhonda K. et al.
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department