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ROSEMEAD, Calif., May 17, 2022 — California must act with more urgency to address the continuing effects of climate change because the cost of inaction is far greater than the cost of action. That is according to Adapting for Tomorrow: Powering a Resilient Future, a new white paper from Edison International. The paper also underscores the need to modernize the critical infrastructure that powers communities and says that collaboration among utilities, regulators and stakeholders must be increased.
“It is crucial to provide support to the most disadvantaged, climate vulnerable communities through awareness and the development of climate adaptation plans,” said Pedro J. Pizarro, president and CEO of Edison International. “Southern California Edison (SCE) is preparing the electrical grid to safely power communities and meet their energy needs now and in the future. It is imperative that the public, industry and community partners join SCE to modernize critical infrastructure and adapt to the changing climate.”
Adapting for Tomorrow: Powering a Resilient Future shares important findings from SCE’s Climate Adaptation Vulnerability Assessment (CAVA) on assets, operations and services throughout its 50,000-square-mile service area. The CAVA concludes that by 2050, wildfires could leave large swaths of customers without necessary services for long periods of time, rising sea levels could inundate electrical facilities and extreme temperatures could reduce electrical capacity. Energy companies will need to modernize planning for the grid now to continue to safely provide reliable, clean and affordable energy to customers.
“There are many ways we must act with more urgency to incorporate projected climate conditions into our electric system planning to ensure a resilient decarbonized grid,” said Erica Bowman, director of the Edison International CEO’s Office and principal author of Adapting for Tomorrow and last year’s Edison policy paper, Mind the Gap. “Just one example among many, is planning for increased extreme temperatures and heat waves. During these events, electric loads will increase due to customer cooling needs and transmission line capacity may need to be derated 10%-20% due to operating limits. We need to anticipate these types of compounding impacts and design our system accordingly.”
Successfully adapting while transitioning to a clean energy economy requires updated planning processes and frameworks to address these issues over the long term across all infrastructure — energy, wastewater, fuel supplies and transportation corridors. This will require increased collaboration among utilities, regulators and stakeholders. Less than half of counties and only one-quarter of cities in SCE’s service area have climate adaptation and resilience plans.
An initiative of the Bay Area Council supported by SCE, the California Resilience Challenge is in its second year providing grant funding for projects that help underserved communities be more resilient to climate change impacts, including fire, drought, extreme heat and floods.
“Communities around the world are beginning to grapple with the ways in which climate change will disrupt familiar ways of life,” said Adrian Covert, senior vice president of Public Policy at the Bay Area Council. “Edison’s support for research and planning initiatives like Adapting for Tomorrow and the California Resilience Challenge are helping ensure millions of Californians stay ahead of climate change by strengthening their resilience to droughts, heat waves, wildfires and flood risks.”
About Edison International
Edison International (NYSE: EIX) is one of the nation’s largest electric utility holding companies, providing clean and reliable energy and energy services through its independent companies. Headquartered in Rosemead, California, Edison International is the parent company of Southern California Edison Company, a utility that delivers electricity to 15 million people across Southern, Central and Coastal California. Edison International is also the parent company of Edison Energy, a global energy advisory company delivering comprehensive, data-driven energy solutions to commercial and industrial users to meet their cost, sustainability and risk goals.