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Argonne National Laboratory Helping NYPA for the Future in a Changing Climate

Aug. 11, 2021
The partnership will enable the utility to better assess how its assets and business may be affected by extreme weather and other hazards.

As climate change drives more frequent extreme weather events, companies must find ways to adapt and plan for the future. But how can they know how changes in climate will impact their assets and their business strategy? And what can they do to identify and address issues before they affect customers?

New York Power Authority (NYPA) is addressing these challenges by assessing how its ability to generate, transmit and deliver electricity may be affected by climate change. For the first time, NYPA is evaluating its comprehensive climate risk with the help of the U.S. Department of Energy’s Argonne National Laboratory. Also in collaboration with the Electric Power Research Institute and the Columbia Center on Global Energy Policy, the study will help NYPA plan investments in its infrastructure and strengthen its resilience against all hazards, including major weather events.

Using state-of-the-art climate and infrastructure system modeling techniques, and a powerful supercomputer, Argonne’s interdisciplinary team of scientists and engineers will determine the risks a changing climate poses to NYPA’s infrastructure and investment strategy.

Argonne’s experts will also develop a climate resiliency plan that will inform how NYPA mitigates any potential risks. By addressing these issues now, NYPA can protect and position its business so it can continue to reliably produce and deliver power to New Yorkers.

“Large power utilities like NYPA need to anticipate and prepare for the possible impacts of extreme weather events to better address and harden our infrastructure and to better inform our business decisions,” said Adrienne Lotto, vice president, chief risk and resilience officer at NYPA. ​

Argonne is a world leader in creating hyperlocal climate model simulation datasets and has the most detailed climate projections available in the U.S. Argonne’s approach uses historical climate data and some of the world’s best climate models to project future climate in a very localized area — down to the size of a neighborhood — up to 50 years in the future.

While most climate models can only look at changes over a large area — typically 100 sq kms — Argonne’s models assess climate risks at the scale needed for businesses to understand, for example, how specific buildings and equipment could be damaged by flooding or high winds.

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