Developing countries are the most vulnerable to the adverse impacts of climate change due to their low adaptive capacities — socially, technologically, and financially (UNFCCC, 2007). Yet, the electricity sector in these countries is already vulnerable to the present-day weather and climate, let alone the future climate (Audinet et al., 2014). While there is increasing recognition of the sector’s vulnerability to climate change in the Global North, a detailed investigation about climate change impacts on the electricity sector in developing countries is still missing. This study identifies the historical effects of severe weather events and changes in climate variables on the electricity sector in the context of developing countries. We focus on Indonesia: it faces frequent natural disasters, which already affect its electricity supply infrastructures and will only intensify with climate change. By means of interviews and focus group discussions involving 52 practitioners of Indonesia’s electricity companies, we identify the channels through which climate change exacerbates the vulnerability of the Indonesian electricity sector. Our findings reveal that weather-related power outages very often occurred due to failures in the distribution networks. While severe weather events rarely caused shutdowns of power plants, their impact magnitude is significant once they have occurred. Meanwhile, transmission networks are susceptible to lightning strikes, which is the one-leading cause of weather-related failures in the networks. Based on electricity supply disruptions data from the Indonesia’s electricity companies, we estimate financial losses suffered by the utilities due to weather-related power disruptions. In addition to the estimated impacts, the study highlights the adaptation responses taken by the utilities to cope with severe weather and changes in climate variables. These findings imply that climate-resilient electricity sector should be a priority, especially for developing countries where massive electrification needs coincide with vulnerability to natural hazards.
|Publication status||Published - 2019|
|Event||4TU DeSIRE Conference on Resilience Engineering 2019|
: Building Connections for Resilience Engineering Solutions - University of Twente, Enschede, Netherlands
Duration: 6 Jun 2019 → 7 Jun 2019
|Conference||4TU DeSIRE Conference on Resilience Engineering 2019|
|Period||6/06/19 → 7/06/19|