The vulnerability of the power sector to climate variability and change: Evidence from Indonesia

Publication Type:
Journal Article
Energies, 2019, 12 (19)
Issue Date:
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© 2019 by the authors. The power sector is a key target for reducing CO2 emissions. However, little attention has been paid to the sector’s vulnerability to climate change. This paper investigates the impacts of severe weather events and changes in climate variables on the power sector in developing countries, focusing on Indonesia as a country with growing electricity infrastructure, yet being vulnerable to natural hazards. We obtain empirical evidence concerning weather and climate impacts through interviews and focus group discussions with electric utilities along the electricity supply chain. These data are supplemented with reviews of utilities’ reports and published energy sector information. Our results indicate that severe weather events often cause disruptions in electricity supply—in the worst cases, even power outages. Weather-related power outages mainly occur due to failures in distribution networks. While severe weather events infrequently cause shutdowns of power plants, their impact magnitude is significant if it does occur. Meanwhile, transmission networks are susceptible to lightning strikes, which are the leading cause of the networks’ weather-related failures. We also present estimates of financial losses suffered by utilities due to weather-related power disruptions and highlights their adaptation responses to those disruptions.
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