Translating climate change and heating system electrification impacts on building energy use to future greenhouse gas emissions and electric grid capacity requirements in California
Climate change and increased electrification of space and water heating in buildings can significantly affect future electricity demand and hourly demand profiles, which has implications for electric grid greenhouse gas emissions and capacity requirements. We use EnergyPlus to quantify building energy demand under historical and under several climate change projections of 32 kinds of building prototypes in 16 different climate zones of California and imposed these impacts on a year 2050 electric grid configuration by simulation in the Holistic Grid Resource Integration and Deployment (HIGRID) model. We find that climate change only prompted modest increases in grid resource capacity and negligible difference in greenhouse gas emissions since the additional electric load generally occurred during times with available renewable generation. Heating electrification, however, prompted a 30–40% reduction in greenhouse gas emissions but required significant grid resource capacity increases, due to the higher magnitude of load increases and lack of readily available renewable generation during the times when electrified heating loads occurred. Overall, this study translates climate change and electrification impacts to system-wide endpoint impacts on future electric grid configurations and highlights the complexities associated with translating building-level impacts to electric system-wide impacts.