Multihazard Investigation of Climate Vulnerability of the Natural Gas Energy System
October 27, 2020
Energy Research and Development (500)
Natural Gas Program
A. AghaKouchak, J. Brouwer, Y-H Lin, A. Hall, K. Reich, N. Berg, I. Mallakpour, O. Mazdiyasni, Z. Heydarzadeh, H-Y Huang, E. Ragno, and C.A. Love
California needs to address energy security concerns while considering the potential impacts of climate change on the state’s energy infrastructure. Infrastructure systems such as natural gas pipelines are experiencing changes in exposure to natural hazards across California. Consequently, infrastructure will likely face more severe climatic conditions in a warming climate with potential societal and economic consequences. Infrastructure design has historically relied on the notion of stationarity, which assumes that statistics of hydroclimatic extremes such as rainfall or streamflow do not change over time. The necessity to adapt infrastructure to climate extremes was recognized by California Legislature in Assembly Bill 2800, which aimed to start the process to ensure the long-term resilience of infrastructure throughout the state. Through California Senate Bill 100, California set goals to eliminate its reliance on fossil fuels and move to zero-carbon energy sources for its electricity needs by 2045. This project explored quantifying climate change impacts on different climatic hazards that can potentially affect natural gas infrastructure systems such as extreme rainfall, coastal and inland flooding, and wildfires. Following scenario guidelines of the California’s Fourth Climate Change Assessment, the research team used downscaled climate data with a 1/16 degree spatial resolution from selected Coupled Model Intercomparison Project Phase 5 models. The results show that the exposure of natural gas infrastructure in response to individual and compounding effects of hazards is expected to increase substantially in a warming climate.