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Assessing the potential impact of climate change on the UK’s electricity network


  • Lynsey McColl


  • Erika Palin
  • Hazel Thornton
  • David Sexton
  • Richard Betts
  • Ken Mylne


We investigate how weather affects the UK’s electricity network, by examining past data of weather-related faults on the transmission and distribution networks. By formalising the current relationship between weather-related faults and weather, we use climate projections from a regional climate model (RCM) to quantitatively assess how the frequency of these faults may change in the future. This study found that the incidences of both lightning and solar heat faults are projected to increase in the future. There is evidence that the conditions that cause flooding faults may increase in the future, but a reduction cannot be ruled out. Due to the uncertainty associated with future wind projections, there is no clear signal associated with the future frequency of wind and gale faults, however snow, sleet and blizzard faults are projected to decrease due to a reduction in the number of snow days. Copyright Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2012

Suggested Citation

  • Lynsey McColl & Erika Palin & Hazel Thornton & David Sexton & Richard Betts & Ken Mylne, 2012. "Assessing the potential impact of climate change on the UK’s electricity network," Climatic Change, Springer, vol. 115(3), pages 821-835, December.
  • Handle: RePEc:spr:climat:v:115:y:2012:i:3:p:821-835
    DOI: 10.1007/s10584-012-0469-6

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Jan Corfee-Morlot & Ian Cochran & Stéphane Hallegatte & Pierre-Jonathan Teasdale, 2011. "Multilevel risk governance and urban adaptation policy," Climatic Change, Springer, vol. 104(1), pages 169-197, January.
    2. Stéphane Hallegatte & Nicola Ranger & Olivier Mestre & Patrice Dumas & Jan Corfee-Morlot & Celine Herweijer & Robert Wood, 2011. "Assessing climate change impacts, sea level rise and storm surge risk in port cities: a case study on Copenhagen," Climatic Change, Springer, vol. 104(1), pages 113-137, January.
    3. R. J. Nicholls & S. Hanson & Celine Herweijer & Nicola Patmore & Stéphane Hallegatte & Jan Corfee-Morlot & Jean Château & Robert Muir-Wood, 2008. "Ranking Port Cities with High Exposure and Vulnerability to Climate Extremes: Exposure Estimates," OECD Environment Working Papers 1, OECD Publishing.
    4. Jean-Marc Burniaux & Jean Château, 2008. "An Overview of the OECD ENV-Linkages Model," OECD Economics Department Working Papers 653, OECD Publishing.
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