I am leaving Budapest and on my way to Austria. My efforts here are to provide aggregate demand to lift Europe from its financial woes. I am not "small" in this economy but I do take prices as given. To keep up with events in North America, I use the Internet and read about the Heat-OKC NBA games and I also read this piece about Toronto's pro-active efforts
to not allow climate shocks to disrupt its electricity supply. As you can imagine, I like this piece on several levels.
Without cherry picking evidence, this is exactly the logic of my Climatopolis
playing out. We are not passive victims of Mother Nature. Instead, we have the right incentives to learn about the "new normal" and adjust our investments to protect ourselves from serious risks that climate change will pose.
Here are some specifics from this Toronto Case Study.
"Do recent severe weather trends represent the “new normal?” How will increased sea level rise and storm surge due to climate change
affect power plant management and site selection? How will utilities manage the dual challenges of increasing demand for air conditioning and diminishing water availability for power plant cooling? Will extreme heat and rains affect electrical substations and underground transformer vaults?
Leading power companies are increasingly looking at how to integrate climate change risks and extreme weather vulnerabilities into existing enterprise risk management approaches. They are pursuing adaptation strategies to maintain the reliability of electricity supply and reduce the costs of extended power outages in the face of extreme weather events such as hurricanes, tornados, winter storms, and extratropical storms.
Resilience measures include hardening of electrical infrastructure (e.g. flood-proofing of electrical substations) and more natural resilience initiatives such as wetland restoration to reduce tidal storm surge impacts.
In November 2011, the Toronto Environment Office and CivicAction launched the WeatherWise Partnership
to better protect the region’s residents, organizations, infrastructure, and environment from extreme weather. The goal of the WeatherWise Partnership is to identify risks and prioritize areas for action and investment by businesses, communities, organizations and governments as the region faces more extreme weather. The Partnership has over 50 members from all three levels of government and from many sectors such as finance, insurance, communications, real estate, electricity, universities, energy, transportation, and telecommunications. It has identified the electrical sector as its first priority for improving extreme weather resilience in the Toronto region.
The WeatherWise Partnership recognizes that electrical power is critical to many sectors (e.g. Telecommunication, Transport, Water Supply and Treatment). Likewise, the electrical sector has certain dependencies on other sectors (Roads, Urban Forestry to trim tree branches overhanging, Logistics and Supply Chains).
According to David MacLeod
, Senior Environmental Specialist for the City of Toronto Environment Office
, current WeatherWise Partnership projects include:
- A survey of critical infrastructure and service providers’ tolerance to power disruption.
- A seminar for the electrical sector on climate change risk assessment including a demo of the Toronto Climate Change Risk Assessment Tool.
- A pilot “Climate Change Engineering Vulnerability Assessment” of a small portion of the City of Toronto’s electrical grid applying the Engineers Canada Public Infrastructure Engineering Vulnerability Committee‘s protocol.
- A benchmarking study on electricity sector extreme weather resiliency efforts in other jurisdictions.
This is great stuff!