Resource planning and forecasting in a changing climate.
Robert E. Livezey retired in 2007 as chief of the National Weather Service/NOAA climate services division. Philip Q Hanser is a principal with The Brattle Group. The views in this article are the authors’ and don’t reflect those of The Brattle Group or its clients.
The utility industry has long wrestled with the effects of temperature on energy use, whether it’s summer heat waves driving peak electric demand to new heights and the electric system to record stress, or frigid winters straining gas pipeline capacities.
Extreme temperatures are likely to pose continual problems and perplex utilities’ operators and planners. Defining what’s “normal” for weather and temperature creates its own challenges. An empirically objective approach, based on historical data and climate science, can help utilities avoid the effects of inappropriately defining normal weather.
The Uses of ‘Normal Weather’
“Normal weather” is defined as the statistical expectation of the temperature and precipitation for a location. As a measure of the climate or average weather, it’s a fundamental input to many facets of utilities’ operations, planning, and finances.