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Effects of Climate Change on Capacity Expansion Decisions of an Electricity Generation Fleet in the Southeast U.S.

CSS Publication Number
Full Publication Date
January 26, 2021

The electric power sector in the United States faces many challenges related to climate change. On the demand side, climate change could shift demand patterns due to increased air temperatures. On the supply side, climate change could lead to deratings of thermal units due to changes in air temperature, water temperature, and water availability. Past studies have typically analyzed these risks separately. Here, we developed an integrated, multimodel framework to analyze how compounding risks of climate-change impacts on demand and supply affect long-term planning decisions in the power system. In the southeast U.S., we found that compounding climate-change impacts could result in a 35% increase in installed capacity by 2050 relative to the reference case. Participation of renewables, particularly solar, in the fleet increased, driven mostly by the expected increase in summertime peak demand. Such capacity requirements would increase investment costs by approximately 31 billion (USD 2015) over the next 30 years, compared to the reference case. These changes in investment decisions align with carbon emission mitigation strategies, highlighting how adaptation and mitigation strategies can converge.

Aviva Loew
Bart Nijssen
Edson Severnini
Francisco Ralston Fonseca
Haibo Zhai
John Yearsley
Mario Bergés
Nathalie Voisin
Paulina Jaramillo
Yifan Cheng
Research Areas
Energy Systems
Publication Type
Journal Article
Digital Object Identifier
Full Citation

Fonseca, Francisco Ralston, Michael Craig, Paulina Jaramillo, Mario Bergés, Edson Severnini, Aviva Loew, Haibo Zhai, Yifan Cheng, Bart Nijssen, Nathalie Voisin, and John Yearsley (2021) “Effects of Climate Change on Capacity Expansion Decisions of an Electricity Generation Fleet in the Southeast U.S.” Environmental Science and Technology 55(4): 2522-2531.