Climate change may significantly affect the operation of California's electric power system, in both the demand and supply sides. As temperatures rise, electricity demand will also increase to meet air conditioning and other cooling requirements. This in turn will further escalate the emission of greenhouse gases and the air pollution due to use of unclean sources of energy.
Total annual expenditures of electricity in California were approximately $26 billion in 2003. Even the small percentage increases in energy demand would substantially raise energy-related expenditures. For example, if these expenditures continue growing at the mean annual growth rate from 1990–2003, a 3% increase in electricity demand by 2020 would translate to about $930 million in additional annual electricity expenditures. According to a study published in 2006, net expenditures could be relatively small if a mild warming scenario unfolds, or they could be on the order of $2 billion, in an extreme case by 2020. Also, such direct temperature-driven impacts would be exacerbated by potential losses in hydroelectric supply due to direct and indirect effects of temperature changes on hydroelectric generation. Diminished snow melt flowing through dams will decrease the potential for hydropower production, which now comprises about 15 percent of California’s in-state electricity production. However, future precipitation projections are quite uncertain so it is possible that precipitation may increase and expand hydropower generation.
Post last edited on: 2011 April 13
Tags: population growth, precipitation, snow pack, temperature
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