Compounding climate change impacts during high stress periods for a high wind and solar power system in Texas

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Power system planning aims at ensuring that sufficient supply- and demand-side assets exist to meet electricity demand at all times. For a Texas electric power system with high wind and solar penetrations, we quantify how climate change will affect supply and demand during three types of high stress periods for the power grid: high demand hours, high net demand hours, and high system ramp hours. We specifically quantify effects on demand, reductions in available thermal capacity (i.e. thermal deratings), wind and solar generation, and net demand. We estimate each using meteorological variables from five climate change projections (2041–2050) assuming Representative Concentration Pathway 8.5 and from a reference period (1996–2005). All five projections indicate that climate change will increase demand by up to 2 GWh during high demand hours (4% of demand in the reference period) and increase net demand by up to 3 GWh during high net demand periods (6% of net demand in the reference period). All five projections also indicate thermal deratings will increase during high demand and net demand periods by up to 2 GWh and high net demand ramps will increase by up to 2 GW. Overall, our results indicate compounding effects of climate change in Texas will necessitate greater investment in peak and flexible capacity.

Research Areas: 
renewable energy
climate change
power system planning
thermal derating
climate change impacts
climate change adaptation
Publication Type: 
Journal Article
Environmental Research Letters
Date Published: 
January 20, 2020
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Full Citation: 
Craig, Michael T., Paulina Jaramillo, Bri-Mathias Hodge, Bart Nijssen, and Carlo Brancuci. (2020) “Compounding climate change impacts during high stress periods for a high wind and solar power system in Texas.” Environmental Research Letters 15(021004): 1-12.
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