Public Affairs and Security Studies Faculty Publications and Presentations

Extending energy system modelling to include extreme weather risks and application to hurricane events in Puerto Rico

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Energy system optimization models often incorporate climate change impacts to examine different energy futures and draw insights that inform policy. However, increased risk of extreme weather events from climate change has proven more difficult to model. Here, we present an energy system optimization model that incorporates hurricane risks by combining storm probabilities with infrastructure fragility curves, and demonstrate its utility in the context of Puerto Rico, an island territory of the United States that had its energy system severely damaged by Hurricane Maria in 2017. The model assesses the potential to change grid architecture, fuel mix and grid hardening measures considering hurricane impacts as well as climate mitigation policies. When hurricane trends are included, 2040 electricity cost projections increase by 32% based on historical hurricane frequencies and by 82% for increased hurricane frequencies. Transitioning to renewables and natural gas reduces costs and emissions independent of climate mitigation policies.


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Nature Energy