ComEd will conduct a study of the impact of climate change on the network

Changing weather and climate conditions, including sustained wind, heat, flooding and icing, are expected to test the limits of today’s utility infrastructure.

For the study, Commonwealth Edison (ComEd) is partnering with the Center for Climate Resilience and Decision Science at the U.S. Department of Energy’s Argonne National Laboratory and the Climate READi Initiative at the Electric Power Research Institute (EPRI ), a recently announced three-year global program on resilience and adaptation to climate change.

Changing climate patterns are expected to bring operational challenges, while electrification for decarbonization will mean greater reliance on the grid as demand for electricity increases in sectors such as transport and industry.

The study, the first in the ComEd region and believed to be the first to integrate the impact of increased electrification into the climate risk planning process, will draw on established best practices in climate science and industry to help ComEd plan and build more resilient infrastructure. climate change which poses increasing risks to the network.

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In particular, it is expected to further inform ComEd’s multi-year integrated network plan, which will be filed with the Illinois Commerce Commission (ICC) in January 2023.

“Families and businesses in Northern Illinois are on the front lines of increasingly severe weather caused by climate change, which has resulted in record temperature swings, historic tornadoes and hurricane-force winds that continue to test the resilience of the power grid and the reliable power our customers expect,” said Gil Quiniones, CEO of ComEd.

“As we plan the future grid investments needed to enable the state’s clean energy transition, it’s critical that we fully understand future grid challenges – including the impact of climate change and electrification – to ensure that our network can adapt to changing conditions and maintain our exceptional system reliability and resilience.

Argonne will provide analysis of future climate conditions for northern Illinois, with researchers using two climate risk pathways to identify scenarios that would exceed current design standards. Current best practices for grid planning consider historical weather, but climate change is forcing utilities to look to the future and anticipate unprecedented weather patterns

Climate READi, launched in late April, will bring together global thought leaders and industry stakeholders to develop a common framework to address the resilience and climate change adaptation of power systems. The Climate READi framework produced from this effort is expected to embody one of the most comprehensive integrated approaches to physical climate risk assessment.

ComEd’s parent company, Exelon Corporation, is one of 13 members of the Climate READi initiative. ComEd expects the final report of the study to be published no later than the filing of the new grid plan.