Engineers report upgrades needed to climate-proof power supply

Climate-Change-Power-EnergyAccording to research by ASU engineers Mikhail Chester and Matthew Bartos, electricity generation and distribution infrastructure in the Western United States must be “climate-proofed” to diminish the risk of future power shortages. In their article in the current issue of Nature Climate Change, the researchers say expected increases in extreme heat and drought events will bring changes in precipitation, air and water temperatures, air density and humidity. They report that the current infrastructure of power stations makes them particularly vulnerable to these conditions and that, unless steps are taken to upgrade systems and technologies, their energy-generating capacity could be significantly constrained. The researchers are examining alternative technologies like hydroelectric, wind and combustion turbines, steam and photovoltiacs because renewable energy sources are generally less susceptible to climate change impacts.