First Conference on Weather, Climate, and the New Energy Economy
8th Users Forum on Weather and Climate Impacts


Climate Change Impacts on Residential and Commercial Loads in the Western U.S. Grid

L. Ruby Leung, PNNL, Richland, WA; and N. Lu, T. Z. Taylor, W. Jiang, J. Correia, and P. Wong

This paper presents a multi-disciplinary modeling approach to quantify climate change impacts on energy consumption, peak load, and load composition of residential and commercial buildings. This research focuses on addressing the impact of temperature changes on the building cooling load in 10 major cities across the Western United States and Canada. Our approach consists of developing a base case to characterize the impacts of climate change on energy demand at the building level for different building types at different geographical locations across the Western U.S. power grid for Now and Future. Twenty-six global climate simulations in the IPCC AR4 archives are used to provide the climate change scenarios for this study. Our results show that by the mid-century, building yearly energy consumption and peak load will increase in the Southwest. Moreover, the peak load months will spread out to not only the summer months but also spring and autumn months. The Pacific Northwest will experience more hot days in the summer months. The penetration of the air conditioning (a/c) system in this area is likely to increase significantly over the years. As a result, some locations in the Pacific Northwest may shift from winter peaking to summer peaking. Overall, the Western U.S. grid may see more simultaneous peaks across the North and South in summer months. Increased cooling load will result in a significant increase in the motor load, which consumes more reactive power and requires stronger voltage support from the grid. This study suggests an increasing need for the industry to implement new technology to increase the efficiency of temperature-sensitive loads and apply proper protection and control to prevent possible adverse impacts of a/c motor loads.

By adjusting the inputs to the base case to account for new technologies and policies, the effectiveness of techno-social factors can be evaluated by comparing results between the new and base cases. By cumulating the building level impacts on energy consumption peak load, and load composition to the feeder, city, and regional levels, our analysis can give decision-makers information to plan new construction projects, upgrade old facilities, direct development of new technology, and implement new policies to curb or mitigate the adverse impacts of climate change.

Recorded presentation

Joint Session 11, Issues on the Grid
Wednesday, 20 January 2010, 1:30 PM-2:30 PM, B202

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