Preparing Energy Systems for Rising Sea Levels
A new pilot study by the Department of Energy (DOE) presents an approach communities can use to assess the impacts of sea level rise on energy infrastructure. The study uses global sea level rise scenarios from the 2014 National Climate Assessment, geographic analyses of inundation from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), and DOE data on coastal energy assets.
The study demonstrates a scalable method for identifying energy facilities exposed to sea levels projected through the year 2100. The method is applied to a geographically diverse range of major metropolitan areas: New York City, Miami, Houston, and Los Angeles—all cities at risk from significant storm events. The study shows that sea level rise could threaten a number of large-capacity energy facilities in each of these cities.
The approach used for the four cities in the study is designed to be adaptable for any coastal area. As sea levels continue to increase, coastal communities can use this approach to help guide the protection of existing energy assets and to support the resilient development of new energy infrastructure.