The US GAO has published a new report looking at the future resilience of the country’s electricity grid. The report ‘Electricity Grid Resilience: Climate Change Is Expected to Have Far-reaching Effects and DOE and FERC Should Take Actions’ says that climate change is expected to affect every aspect of the electricity grid — from generation, transmission, and distribution, to demand for electricity.
The report concludes that the US Department of Energy and the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission could do more to enhance grid resilience to climate change. It recommends that DOE develop a strategy and coordinate efforts within the department to enhance resilience, and that FERC assess grid climate risks and plan how to promote resilience.
The report also highlights that the ageing nature of the grid will exacerbate resilience issues. It says that about 70 percent of the
electricity grid’s transmission lines and power transformers are at least 25 years old, and the average age of power plants is at least 30 years old. According to the American Society of Civil Engineers, most of the US electricity transmission system was built in the 1950s and 1960s and was expected to last 50 years.