Climatic Change

, Volume 111, Issue 1, pp 75–99 | Cite as

Adaptation of California’s electricity sector to climate change

  • Edward VineEmail author


Climate change is likely to pose considerable new challenges to California’s electricity sector. This paper primarily focuses on the adaptation challenges of an important component of the energy arena: electricity demand in the residential and commercial sectors and electricity supply. The primary challenge to California’s electricity sector will likely be the increase in demand for air conditioning as a result of rising temperatures. In addition, renewable energy sources, which are an increasing share of the electricity portfolio, are particularly vulnerable to climate change. Many of the key players have been actively considering the implications of climate change. Because electricity generation accounts for nearly 30% of greenhouse gas emissions, this sector has been a target of the state’s efforts to reduce emissions. Fortunately, many of the same tools can simultaneously improve the sector’s resilience to a changing climate. Demand management strategies and supply diversification are both important strategies. Local governments can play a central role in encouraging the adoption of more energy efficient building codes and the use of more renewable sources, such as solar energy. The positive steps taken by many local governments are encouraging. Steps to increase public awareness are an important, often missing component, however. Increases in research, development, and demonstration to improve system resiliency and develop new energy conservation tools are also needed.


Electricity Sector Energy Efficiency Measure Energy Efficiency Program Hydroelectric Generation Extreme Heat Event 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.



I would like to thank the Public Policy Institute of California for inviting me to prepare this paper and the financial support from Next Ten, Pacific Gas and Electric Company, and The Nature Conservancy. I would also like to thank the following people for providing information or advice for the preparation of this paper: Cal Broomhead (City and County of San Francisco), Merwin Brown (California Institute for Energy and Environment), Lloyd Cibulka (California Institute for Energy and Environment), Guido Franco (California Energy Commission), Gary Freeman (Pacific Gas & Electric Company), Marshall Hunt (UC Davis Western Cooling Efficiency Center), Norm Miller (Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory), Evan Mills (Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory), Joe O’Hagan (California Energy Commission), Wendy Pulling (Pacific Gas & Electric Company), Sue Tierney (Analysis Group), and Lorraine White (California Energy Commission). Finally, I would also like to thank the reviewers of an earlier version of this paper: Guido Franco, Evan Mills, Wendy Pulling, and Michael Teitz. Furthermore, I am indebted to Louise Bedsworth, Ellen Hanak, and Lynette Ubois of the Public Policy Institute of California who made this paper more intelligible than I could produce. Finally, I would like to acknowledge the helpful comments from the anonymous journal reviewers.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Lawrence Berkeley National LaboratoryBerkeleyUSA

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