Assessment of climate change impacts on energy capacity planning in Ontario, Canada using high-resolution regional climate model

Shuo Wang, Jinxin Zhu, Gordon Huang, Brian Baetz, Guanhui Cheng, Xueting Zeng, Xiuquan Wang

Research output: Journal article publicationJournal articleAcademic researchpeer-review

20 Citations (Scopus)


Climate change may alter energy demand as well as energy supply, thus posing a threat to energy security. This study investigates the long-term energy security responses to climate change for Ontario from a planning perspective. A regional climate model (RCM) is employed to assess the climate-driven changes in energy sectors at a 25 km × 25 km resolution. Reliable projections of changes in climatic variables are provided to assess their impacts on cooling degree days, heating degree days, and energy availability. Quantified sensitivities of residential and commercial energy consumptions to degree days are incorporated with future projections to estimate energy demand changes. We then estimate the impact of climate change on the primary power sources, including nuclear power, hydropower, gas, wind energy, and solar energy from a capacity planning perspective. Results indicate that winter warms more rapidly than summer in Ontario. This leads to heating degree days decreasing 2 times faster than cooling degree days increasing. Changes in degree days result in an increase in summer electricity demand and a reduction in winter gas consumption. We also find that efficiencies of hydropower and wind energy could be reduced in different scales because of decreased resource availability. The efficiency of nuclear power is sensitive to the temperature rise, but relatively less reduced compared to other energy sources. Solar energy production can benefit from climate change for the perspective of a decrease in rainy and cloudy days. With the increased electricity demand and decreased availability of water and wind resources, more green energy capacities are expected to build to ensure the long-term energy security for Ontario.

Original languageEnglish
Article number123026
JournalJournal of Cleaner Production
Publication statusPublished - 20 Nov 2020


  • Climate change
  • Dynamical downscaling
  • Energy capacity
  • Energy security
  • RCPs scenarios

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Renewable Energy, Sustainability and the Environment
  • General Environmental Science
  • Strategy and Management
  • Industrial and Manufacturing Engineering


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