High average temperatures lead to high regional electricity demand for cooling buildings, and large populations generally require more aggregate electricity than smaller ones do. Thus, future global climate and population changes will present regional infrastructure challenges regarding changing electricity demand. However, without spatially explicit representation of this demand or the ways in which it might change at the neighbourhood scale, it is difficult to determine which electricity service areas are most vulnerable and will be most affected by these changes. Here we show that detailed projections of changing local electricity demand patterns are viable and important for adaptation planning at the urban level in a changing climate. Employing high-resolution and spatially explicit tools, we find that electricity demand increases caused by temperature rise have the greatest impact over the next 40 years in areas serving small populations, and that large population influx stresses any affected service area, especially during peak demand.
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This manuscript has been authored by employees of UT-Battelle, under contract DE-AC05-00OR22725 with the US Department of Energy. The authors would also like to acknowledge the financial support for this research by the Integrated Assessment Research Program of the US Department of Energy’s Office of Science. We thank the Tennessee Valley Authority and Electric Reliability Council of Texas for their provision of power data to the project.
The authors declare no competing financial interests.
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Allen, M., Fernandez, S., Fu, J. et al. Impacts of climate change on sub-regional electricity demand and distribution in the southern United States. Nat Energy 1, 16103 (2016) doi:10.1038/nenergy.2016.103
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