Visualizing Climate-Related Risks to the Electricity Sector Using Cal-Adapt
April 01, 2020
Energy Research and Development (500)
Electric Program Investment Charge - EPIC
Nancy Thomas, Shruti Mukhtyar, Brian Galey, Maggi Kelly
Energy-sector operations, management, and planning require rigorous information on projected climate and weather-related risks to maintain safe, reliable, and affordable energy for California’s current and future populations. California’s energy infrastructure — including electric transmission and distribution lines, thermal power plants and substations, and natural gas facilities and pipelines — is vulnerable to climate-related impacts and extreme weather that may differ considerably from historical records because of climatic changes. Research supported by the State of California has provided high-quality, peer-reviewed data and scientific analysis of climate-related factors that impact the energy sector, including sea-level rise, storms, wildfire, and heat waves. These data are free to the public through the Cal-Adapt web platform (https://cal-adapt.org), developed to provide stakeholders with information regarding climate-related risks through interactive, compelling, and useful visualizations and tools.
The University of California, Berkeley’s Geospatial Innovation Facility built Cal-Adapt 2.0, which includes updates and enhancements that improve ease of use, information value, visualization tools, and data accessibility. Cal-Adapt offers an open-application programming interface that allows other organizations to access Cal-Adapt climate data and build their own visualizations and planning tools.
Cal-Adapt has made a difference in climate adaptation and policy planning by providing an easy-to-use, freely available tool that can serve as a resource for many climate resilience applications. Although Cal-Adapt is still under development to become an operational decision support tool, California’s investor-owned utilities have already used it for applications that leverage data and visualizations from the website. Cal-Adapt has been recognized by California’s legislature as a key resource to support local hazard mitigation efforts and has helped California move forward on climate policy by providing a point of access for data adopted by the state for energy sector planning and adaptation guidance.