Securing energy supply in a changing and variable climate

By November 8th, 2011

A conference to advance our understanding of how weather and climate events will impact global energy systems is underway on the Gold Coast.

Welcoming delegates today to the international conference on climate risk management for the energy sector, CSIRO’s Dr Alberto Troccoli said companies are soaking up weather and climate data to maximise production and minimise effects that will halt or limit generation.

Dr Troccoli, Chair of the Conference Organising Committee, said weather and climate events have an impact on the more obvious weather-dependent energy sources such as hydro, wind, and solar as well as affecting oil, gas, and even nuclear energy production.

“Vulnerability of the energy systems to weather and climate events is expected to increase with the projected increase in energy demand” he said.

”Communities expect maintenance of adequate, uninterrupted energy supply and  projected changes in climate will link directly to profit and loss for generators as they strive to meet community expectations.

“The number of weather-related catastrophes has increased markedly in the last thirty years and climate science is being called on to provide an information buffer around which risk to infrastructure and supply can be managed in the face of rising temperatures, changing wind regimes, and more intense storm activity projected with climate change,” Dr Troccoli said.

“Vulnerability of the energy systems to weather and climate events is expected to increase with the projected increase in energy demand”

Dr Alberto Troccoli

The four-day conference has attracted more than 150 delegates from nearly 50 countries representing generators, insurance, engineering, science and government sectors. It is being supported by CSIRO’s Marine and Atmospheric Research Division and Energy Transformed Flagship.

Dr Troccoli said that in Australia alone there have been several recent examples of impacts including flooded coal mines and sub-stations, reduced hydro storage levels, and cuts to city and rural power supplies lasting hours or days.

“Weather and climate have direct effects on all aspects of the life cycle of energy systems– for instance, resource endowment, infrastructure, design, planning, transmission, distribution, and demand – but indirect effects through other economic sectors such as water management and agriculture also are important.

“It is imperative to make the best use of weather and climate information to address climate change-related impacts.  Knowledge of past and current observations and climate model output all will contribute to improving management of energy demand, production, and use as climate changes,” he said.

Media Resources