Increasing the Resiliency of the Northern California Natural Gas System to Reduce Vulnerability to Climate Change
December 03, 2021
Energy Research and Development (500)
Natural Gas Program
Yihsu Chen (University of California, Santa Cruz), Andrew L. Liu (Purdue University), Chi-hao Wang (California State University Fresno), Na Chen (University of Cincinnati), Jean-Michel Guldmann (The Ohio State University)
This project developed a system-level risk-analysis framework that builds upon regional economic models coupled with a decision-support tool that addresses the vulnerability of the Northern California natural gas system to climate-change-induced weather events, specifically sea-level rise and wildfire. The tool also identifies resilience options and the timing of their implementation to these events. Researchers identified gas facilities located either at relatively low elevation along the coastline at risk for sea-level rise, or in the northern part of the study region near a major segment of the gas system at risk for wildfire. The project showed that the economic loss induced by climate-change events is not necessarily limited to Northern California but will also likely affect the rest of the California economy. The extent of economic loss depends on the magnitude of a gas-service disruption, which is difficult to quantify due to a lack of publicly available data. Nevertheless, the project showed that the economy could recover by using an alternative supply of gas from Southern California together with reallocation of resources in the economy in the medium and long terms. Through simulation and stochastic modeling, this analysis finds that the Northern California natural gas system is generally robust against sea-level rise hazards prior to 2060 due to facility elevations. The probability of complete facility burn-down due to wildfire hazard is also minimal before 2080. However, toward the end of the century when natural-hazard risks are very likely to increase, considering the impacts of service interruptions to the California economy may lead to different decisions regarding hardening at-risk facilities. This project also provided a risk analysis framework that is suitable for the analysis of other types of infrastructures that are subject to climate-induced risks.