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Regional climate modeling and energy demand projections for selected Colorado sites

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Wednesday, 26 January 2011
Regional climate modeling and energy demand projections for selected Colorado sites
Glenn Higgins, Northrop Grumman Corporation, Chantilly, VA; and K. Darmenova, D. Apling, and H. Kiley

There is currently a gap between the relatively coarse resolution science data that Global Climate Models (GCMs) produce and the high resolution tailored products that planners need to develop climate adaptation and mitigation strategies. Planners need to make decisions on infrastructure, budgets, policy, and programs related to their energy use and consumption and the impacts on the rest of the energy sector. We apply the Weather Research and Forecasting (WRF) model to conduct regional dynamical downscaling in the Southwestern US. The European Center/Hamburg Model (ECHAM5) GCM is used to provide initial and boundary conditions. We have further developed energy decision aids to translate the output from the WRF Regional Climate Model (RCM) into future electricity and natural gas demand for several sites in Colorado. These energy decision aids are developed using available energy consumption records from these sites over an historical period. These data are correlated with Heating Degree Days (HDD) and Cooling Degree Days (CCD) data from the RCM to develop models of energy use as a function of HDD/CDD. RCM estimates of HDD/CDD are presented for a current and future period along with projections of energy use. Additionally, derived statistical confidence bounds for these products are provided.