Building a climate resilient power system
August 10, 2023

Syahrul Saad & Mahmoud Elkazaz

Climate change stands as an urgent and paramount global challenge, exerting far-reaching ramifications across multiple sectors and notably impacting the power system network. In response to this pressing crisis, some coordinated approach has been initiated globally towards achieving net-zero energy systems, aiming to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and curb the escalating climate impacts. This is leading to a growing sensitivity of supply and demand to meteorological. Electric power systems must adapt to new climate realities on the path to net zero. This includes revising models and load forecasts by using new data to inform operational and planning decisions.

Change in supply and demand

A notable shift in energy generation sources is evident on the supply side, with an increasing reliance on weather-dependent renewable energy sources, such as solar and wind power. The integration of these weather-dependent energy sources into the power system introduces a new dimension of complexity. Unlike traditional fossil-fuel-based power plants that can be dispatched on demand, renewable energy sources are subject to weather patterns and natural elements resulting in power supply.

From the demand perspective, adopting Electric Vehicles (EVs) as a sustainable transportation option and electrifying heating and cooling systems using heat pumps contributes to altering the electricity demand profile[1],[2]. As the number of EVs increases, their widespread charging needs are impacting power networks, requiring careful planning and infrastructure upgrades to accommodate the surge in electricity demand.

Moreover, the electrification of heating and cooling systems using heat pumps has gained popularity due to their energy efficiency and reduced reliance on fossil fuels for temperature regulation.

Adoption of heat pumps in the UK

Heat pumps transfer heat from one place to another, heating during colder months and cooling during warmer seasons. They utilize electricity to move heat rather than generating it conventionally through combustion, making them a cleaner and greener alternative for space heating and cooling. As more households and businesses adopt heat pump technology, there is a growing need for additional electricity to power these systems.

The UK heat pump market nearly doubled in 2021, and the UK government is targeting more than 600,000 units will be installed yearly by 2028 which translates into a reasonable increase of annual electricity demand by around 40 – 50%[2],[3] in 2050.

The adverse weather conditions and the surging demand for cooling and heating are expected to strain power systems considerably, potentially overburdening future grids.

Incorporating climate change into power system modeling

For effective power system planning and decision-making, it is imperative to integrate climate data and a probabilistic approach, enabling the identification of vulnerable areas and addressing their uncertainty. Many sources of great data are available and a huge number of providers produce climate projections that account for various scenarios including the extreme weather scenario[4]. Depending on the type of study, it is necessary to identify the right spatial and temporal resolution needed for the purpose.

Climate resilience of power systems

Climate resilience of electricity systems refers to the ability of power generation, transmission, and distribution infrastructure to withstand and recover from the impacts of climate-related events and disruptions. These events include adverse weather conditions, such as hurricanes, floods, heat waves, wildfires, and severe storms, which are becoming more frequent and intense due to climate change.

Utilizing a variety of distributed energy sources and enabling energy storage in parallel with risk-based adaptive planning and emergency response and recovery planning are key factors that improve the climate resilience of electrical networks[5].

How PSC can help

PSC’s global energy experts can develop bespoke planning and resilience strategies to help utilities manage climate risk. We’re poised to help integrate climate change concerns into your decision-making process to address the challenges of building a climate-resilient power system. Contact us to find out more about our services to help power a more sustainable world.



[2] future GB heat pump electricity demand