Investigate Climate Vulnerability of the Natural Gas System and Identify Resilience Options in the San Diego Area

Identifying adaptation measure to reduce vulnerabilities of the natural gas system to climate impacts

ICF Incorporated, L.L.C.


Fairfax, VA

Recipient Location



Amount Spent



Project Status

Project Result

By analyzing potential climate change-driven impacts to the San Diego area gas system, the research team generated flexible adaptation pathways to help utilities adapt to climate change hazards while managing uncertainty. The results show many gas assets will potentially experience increased exposure to sea level rise-driven coastal hazards, wildfire, extreme heat, inland flooding, and landslides. Overall, natural gas assets and services are expected to experience limited impacts from the climate hazards investigated in this study. The team developed flexible adaptation pathways. The pathway is created to manage uncertainty by making and adjusting adaptation decisions as new information on climate and non-climate variables becomes available. The project is part of the California 4th climate assessment. The final report will be part of the assessment reports published in late 2018.

The Issue

Energy infrastructure in California's low-lying coastal zones and rugged inland terrain could be adversely impacted by permanent inundation from sea level rise, coastal flooding, or in inland zones vulnerable to landslides, wildfires, and inland flooding. However, detailed information on the threats is often insufficient to inform action, beyond resilience measures that would be undertaken for non-climate reasons. This project improves understanding of vulnerabilities and adaptation measures for natural gas infrastructure within the SDG&E territory so that appropriate policy and planning decisions can be made.

Project Innovation

The goal of the project is to develop an understanding of climate-related hazard vulnerability and adaptation options in the San Diego Gas & Electric (SDG&E) territory at a level of detail appropriate for informing energy sector policy and planning. The recipient is partnering with SDG&E to conduct a detailed, robust climate change vulnerability assessment and identify and evaluate appropriate adaptation measures. Possible adaptation measures are determined using literature reviews, interviews with key experts, modeling, and workshop elicitation. Potential direct and indirect impacts and adaptation measures are evaluated at an asset-by-asset level, and through system wide assessment. This provides a suite of practical, actionable climate change adaptation measures optimized to SDG&E's natural gas system and customer needs.

Project Benefits

SDG&E (a funding partner for this project) will use this research to identify feasible climate adaptation measures that will increase reliability and lower overall costs to the utility and its ratepayers. SDG&E is also sharing the results of this study with the U.S. Department of Energy via its Partnership for Energy Sector Climate Resilience, which is being coordinated with the California Public Utilities Commission/California Energy Commission Adaptation Working Group.

Lower Costs


Cost savings to ratepayers will be realized by avoided costs of damage and service disruptions from climate change impacts, as well as avoided costs from over adapting.

Greater Reliability


The conclusion from the study will assist SDG&E and other utilities with preparing adaptation plans to climate change, to improve reliability of natural gas service. SDG&E will be able to avoid some service interruption resulting from climate change impacts

Key Project Members

Project Member

Andrew Petrow



Revell Coastal


Match Partners


San Diego Gas &amp


Electric Company


Contact the Team