Assessing the Effect of Rising Temperatures: The Cost of Climate Change to the U.S. Power Sector

Kate Larsen, John Larsen, Michael Delgado, Whitney Herndon, Shashank Mohan | January 19, 2017

Electric utilities, system operators and regulators are charged with maintaining reliable delivery of affordable electricity to consumers. Prudent planning and investment on decadal timescales in the face of a variety of sources of uncertainty is the name of the game. Human-driven climate change poses a new layer of uncertainty in power system planning. Utilities that ignore potential climate change impacts could incur significant costs to themselves and their customers down the road. In this report, commissioned by the Department of Energy (DOE) and included in the latest installment of its Quadrennial Energy Review (QER), we assess the potential impact of climate change on the US electric power sector. This builds on work from the multi-institutional Climate Impact Lab.