Pacific Northwest National Laboratory is proud to launch a new webinar series featuring the Laboratory’s foremost experts in grid resilience to extreme weather, from planning to response and recovery. All webinars are held on Tuesdays from August 30 - October 25, 2022 at 11 a.m. PT / 2 p.m. ET.
The Grid Resilience @ PNNL webinar series will explore how current research efforts at PNNL are addressing grid resilience considering both climate change and clean energy transitions. PNNL’s capabilities in advanced earth and energy system modeling, paired with extensive experience in power grid planning and operations, provide critical insights to complex multiscale interactions in a landscape that is increasingly affected by climate change.
As your hosts, Dave Judi and Jason Fuller bring you topics that include resilient grid planning and operations, extreme event frequency and intensity changes, and the role these extreme events play in planning a future grid.
Details on each webinar are below. You can register for the entire series here.
The interconnected North American power system that underpins our modern society has been recognized as the top engineering achievement of the 20th century. Access to affordable and reliable electricity enables many of the things that we take for granted today, and has enabled unparalleled economic growth and significantly enhanced our quality of life. And while this vast power system remains affordable and reliable now and into the foreseeable future, there nevertheless remains potential hazards that threaten the resilience of this critical infrastructure. This presentation will introduce the engineering basics of the power grid, discuss prior blackouts and lessons learned gleaned by engineers, delve into resilience concepts, and summarize steps being undertaken to understand and enhance power system resilience in the future.
In the western United States, the past four decades have revealed positive long-term trends in wildfire activity, including increases in total burn area, severity, frequency, complexity, fire duration, and earlier, as well as extended, peak activity. A complex mix of factors contributing to these trends include land management practices, vegetation disease, pests and invasive plants, decreasing winter snowpack, earlier peak snowmelt timing, increasing spring and summer air temperature, decreasing summer precipitation, and more. Understanding where high-wildfire-risk areas are—particularly in spatial relation to critical infrastructure, communities, critical habitat, and water resource supplies—provides a means to prioritize and implement various risk reduction measures. The Pacific Northwest National Laboratory has ongoing efforts in several areas focused on wildfire risk manifesting at multiple time scales, each of which shapes risk reduction and resiliency planning differently. This presentation will address wildfire risk at three distinct time scales: 1) current pre-season wildfire risk, used to inform operational planning and near-term prioritization of landscape management and preparation; 2) near real-time situational awareness of active wildfire events for peri-event decision-making; and 3) future wildfire risk driven by climate and vegetation changes to aid in long-term planning and management strategies.
Resource droughts, be it shortfalls in water availability or shortfalls in wind or solar, impact the grid’s planning. Precipitation shortfalls cascade into hydropower droughts, pushing the power grid to rely on other generation technologies, typically thermo-electric plants, resulting in higher electricity prices and greenhouse gas emissions. The grid is further stressed as thermo-electric plants’ generating capacity is also impacted by droughts in addition to high summer demands and limited wind resources. Unlike shortages of precipitation, reductions in wind and solar resources are felt almost instantly. These conditions, however, can be muted by the strong solar resource during the same periods. Improving resilience to resource drought is a critical consideration in designing the robust grid of the future.
Floods and hurricanes constitute some of the most damaging natural hazards in the U.S. and have wide-ranging socio-economic impacts. They also pose a significant threat to the nation’s electric grid infrastructure. Further, research suggests that the flooding potential may rise and that storms will likely get stronger as the climate changes. Thus, it becomes crucial for us to evaluate the resilience of the electric grid to these climate extremes, particularly in a non-stationary climate. We will discuss the capabilities being developed and used at Pacific Northwest National Laboratory to address these challenges, which will provide insights to the risks posed by hurricanes and floods.
We will describe ongoing research that holistically evaluates the implications for resilience due to alternative energy transitions, socioeconomic shifts, technology change, climate change, and extreme weather simultaneously affecting supply resources and electricity demands. We will first present a suite of long-term decarbonization scenarios for the U.S. energy system created using GCAM-USA—PNNL’s flagship global multisector model with state-level details in the U.S.—that simulates energy, water, land, socioeconomic, and climate systems along with their interactions with policy and technology. We then present research that further analyzes these scenarios at higher spatial and temporal resolutions within the U.S. using policy-, resource-, and land-constrained infrastructure siting, weather-dependent electricity demand, weather-dependent grid operations, and equity impact models.
The ResiliEX Summit will bring together 50 of the world’s greatest minds in grid resilience and climate. They will advance the state-of-the-art with disaster planning, response, and recovery while publishing seminal papers in high-impact, peer-reviewed journals. For more information, please contact Shannon Bates.