Climate-Induced Tradeoffs in Planning and Operating Costs of a Regional Electricity System
Electricity grid planners design the system to supply electricity to end-users reliably and affordably. Climate change threatens both objectives through potentially compounding supply- and demand-side climate-induced impacts. Uncertainty surrounds each of these future potential impacts. Given long planning horizons, system planners must weigh investment costs against operational costs under this uncertainty. Here, we developed a comprehensive and coherent integrated modeling framework combining physically based models with cost-minimizing optimization models in the power system. We applied this modeling framework to analyze potential tradeoffs in planning and operating costs in the power grid due to climate change in the Southeast U.S. in 2050. We find that planning decisions that do not account for climate-induced impacts would result in a substantial increase in social costs associated with loss of load. These social costs are a result of under-investment in new capacity and capacity deratings of thermal generators when we included climate change impacts in the operation stage. These results highlight the importance of including climate change effects in the planning process.