Climate Change puts USA Power Generation at Risk

US Dept Of Energy put out a report on the risks to the USA power generation system by climate change.

Today’s report U.S. Energy Sector Vulnerabilities to Climate Change and Extreme Weather examines current and potential future impacts of these climate trends on the U.S. energy sector. Researchers have identified several critical issues, including power-plant disruptions due to drought and the disruption of fuel supplies during severe storms. They’ve also pinpointed potential opportunities that would make our energy infrastructure more resilient to these risks.

If you go to the interactive map on the site you can get the specifics for the marked locations.


The map above shows how the following three extreme climate trends have caused major issues to the energy sector across the country over the past ten years:

  1. Increasing air and water temperatures;
  2. Decreasing water availability across regions and seasons; and
  3. Increasing intensity and frequency of storm events, flooding and sea level rise.

Here are some more details from the report:

  • Climate change has created an increased risk of shutdowns at coal, natural gas and nuclear power plants. Why? Changes in the climate mean decreased water availability -- which affects cooling at thermoelectric power plants, a requirement for operation. 
  • There are also higher risks to energy infrastructure located along the coasts thanks to sea level rise, the increasing intensity of storms, and higher storm surge and flooding.
  • Power lines, transformers and electricity distribution systems face increasing risks of physical damage from the hurricanes, storms and wildfires that are growing more frequent and intense. 
  • Air conditioning costs will rise due to increasing temperatures and heat waves, along with the risks of blackouts and brownouts in regions throughout the country.