Abstract

Climate change may constrain future electricity generation capacity by increasing the incidence of extreme heat and drought events. We estimate reductions to generating capacity in the Western United States based on long-term changes in streamflow, air temperature, water temperature, humidity and air density. We simulate these key parameters over the next half-century by joining downscaled climate forcings with a hydrologic modelling system. For vulnerable power stations (46% of existing capacity), climate change may reduce average summertime generating capacity by 1.1-3.0%, with reductions of up to 7.2-8.8% under a ten-year drought. At present, power providers do not account for climate impacts in their development plans, meaning that they could be overestimating their ability to meet future electricity needs.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)748-752
Number of pages5
JournalNature Climate Change
Volume5
Issue number8
DOIs
StatePublished - Jul 24 2015

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climate change
drought
supply
climate forcing
electricity generation
climate effect
long-term change
electricity
streamflow
power plant
humidity
water temperature
air temperature
air
climate
modeling
heat
incidence
water
electric power supply

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Environmental Science (miscellaneous)
  • Social Sciences (miscellaneous)

Cite this

Impacts of climate change on electric power supply in the Western United States. / Bartos, Matthew D.; Chester, Mikhail.

In: Nature Climate Change, Vol. 5, No. 8, 24.07.2015, p. 748-752.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

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