Extreme weather to overload urban power grids, study shows

  • Tuesday 18, February 2020 07:42 AM
  • Extreme weather to overload urban power grids, study shows
Sharjah24 – AFP: Extreme hot spells made increasingly likely by climate change could overload urban power grids and cause roving blackouts as an ever-greater share of humanity opt to live in cities, scientists said Monday.
In a series of studies and comment pieces in a special edition of the journal Nature Energy, researchers examined how cities can better use renewable power sources and plan for more frequent and potent temperature swings.

With more than half of mankind expected to live in cities by 2050, existing infrastructure relying on power from fossil fuels is likely to prove insufficient to meet growing demand, as well as the exploding use of air conditioning as urban heat skyrockets in summer.

While climate change is a long-term phenomenon, an international team of researchers wanted to see what effect short-term weather extremes would have on urban power grids.

They used a host of climate models to simulate how electricity demand was likely to rise and fall in 30 Swedish cities during so-called "high impact" weather events.

They found "significant" performance gaps and a high risk of blackouts.

"Extreme weather events could reduce reliability of power supply by 16 percent which can easily lead to blackouts resulting huge economic losses," lead study author Dasun Perera told AFP.

The team also found that increasing hot and cold spells could effect the integration of renewable supplies within existing power grids.

This in turn could have a significant impact on urban air quality and poses a further challenge to governments and cities seeking to shrink their carbon footprint.