Houston Advanced Research Center

To assemble a multidisciplinary team of researchers to develop a modeling framework to advance a systems-level understanding of the impacts of climate change on power systems

  • Amount $599,946
  • City The Woodlands, TX
  • Investigator Gavin Dillingham
  • Year 2021
  • Program Research
  • Sub-program Energy and Environment

Climate change is already affecting how energy systems function, with higher temperatures and more intense storms making energy systems more vulnerable overall, leading to a rise in the number of power outages in recent decades. This is evident in numerous recent events, from hurricanes destroying power generation systems in Puerto Rico to California wildfires disrupting transmission lines to the February 2021 Texas blackout caused by extreme cold. This grant funds a multi-institutional research effort led by the Houston Advanced Research Center (HARC), in partnership with researchers at the University of Houston and Lehigh University, to begin advancing our understanding of how extreme weather events might impact the U.S. energy system. It will examine ERCOT, the Texas electricity grid, and researchers on this project will create an integrated modeling framework, called Pythias, that links together components of five separate models covering separate aspects of energy and climate systems: a power grid management model, a regional climate model, a regional water use and hydrology model, the open source GCAM model that links energy and climate change to socioeconomic factors, and an agent-based decision model to help game out how planners and other stakeholders might respond to changes in energy systems. The team will then use Pythias to model how ERCOT grid might respond to various plausible climate scenarios that could arise in the future.

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