Climate-Informed Generation Capacity Modeling to Support a Climate Resilient Transition to a Clean Electricity System
This project will use high resolution historical climate projections to generate hourly resource availability profiles for solar, wind, and hydroelectric resources across California and the WECC, and will perform novel analyses of weather and climate
This research effort launched in September 2022 and held its first Technical Advisory Committee (TAC) meeting in February 2023 in collaboration with a related EPIC grant that is using products from this effort to support energy system modeling of California’s electricity system in transition toward SB 100 goals. In April 2023, the research team engaged TAC members and other interested stakeholders in a deep dive of their modeling approach; the purpose of this meeting was both to provide an informative overview and to elicit feedback on how best to align the modeling framework with prevailing assumptions, data needs, etc. Participants on the TAC and broader stakeholder engagement efforts include senior staff from state agencies involved with California’s energy system (CAISO, CEC, CPUC, CARB), the research community, non-profit entities, investor-owned utilities, a municipal utility, the Governor’s Office and Planning and Research, and others.
California’s energy decarbonization goals are at once necessitated and challenged by the changing climate, which will affect the spatiotemporal availability of zero-carbon energy sources and introduce unprecedented grid stress by intensifying extreme climate and weather events. To support the build out of a reliable, cost-effective, and safe electricity grid, insights into the responses of zero-carbon generation capacity to a more variable and extreme future climate is needed. ERA will use high resolution historical climate projections to generate hourly resource availability profiles for solar, wind, and hydroelectric resources across California and the WECC, and will perform novel analyses of weather and climate impacts on zero-carbon generation capacity including stresses from compound and cascading extreme events. This work will provide valuable insight into the temporal and spatial variability of generation capacity and the implications for a reliable decarbonized grid in California. Near-instantaneous transfer of results to stakeholders and tight coordination with other EPIC-funded research teams will be facilitated by leveraging the Cal-Adapt: Analytics Engine. Each step of the project will be informed through extensive engagement with external parties including research partners, regulators and policymakers (e.g., SB 100 team, CEC-EAD, CEC-DFO, CAISO, CPUC, OPR), and IOUs. ERA's flexible Agile project design will allow us to respond to stakeholder needs and create actionable and usable data products to enable climate-informed development of a zero-carbon electricity grid and support California’s ambitious climate statutory goals.
By characterizing future climate variability and extremes, and their spatial and temporal impacts, this project will enable a climate-informed, cost-effective deployment of generation capacity, ultimately lowering the cost of electricity to ratepayers.
Grid reliability is increasingly challenged by extremes in weather, which are potentially compounded as California's grid transitions to cleaner but more variable zero-carbon electricity generation. This work will provide critical projections of future renewable availability, allowing for the next generation of energy system modeling to illuminate how the zero-carbon grid will function in a future climate, avoiding grid failures and power disruptions.
Key Project Members
Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory
Kit Batten Consulting
Eagle Rock Analytics, Inc.