PEI will face unique climate change impacts including increased temperatures and precipitation, sea level rise, and more frequent and intense storm surges and extreme weather events. To determine the vulnerability of the City of Summerside’s solar PV microgrid and battery storage system to the impacts of climate change, the PIEVC protocol was used. First, relevant climate parameters were identified based on expected vulnerability of the infrastructure. Climate parameters were further refined and assigned corresponding historical mean values (1976-2005) and/or historical trends to serve as a baseline. Future climate change projections for 2021-2050 and 2051-2080 for RCP 8.5, which is the worst-case business-as-usual emission scenario, were used. Projections obtained from Pacific Climate Impacts Consortium (PCIC) were downscaled from 24 general climate models from the CMIP5 dataset. The historical baseline climate parameters were compared to the future projections related to temperature, precipitation as rain and snow, sea level, solar radiation, and clouds to determine climate change trends for Summerside. Generally, Summerside will become warmer and wetter with +52-68 cm sea level rise and more intense storms by 2051-2080. To determine the impact of these trends on the project, infrastructure thresholds were developed based on professional judgement and design codes. If a climate parameter exceeded the determined infrastructure threshold, it indicated infrastructure performance or productivity would be affected. Finally, probability scores were assigned to indicate the probability that a climate parameter would trigger the infrastructure threshold.
In 2019, the City of Summerside completed a climate change vulnerability and risk assessment using the Public Infrastructure Engineering Vulnerability Committee (PIEVC) Protocol. The goal of this assessment was to determine the impact of climate changes such as increased temperatures, precipitation, and sea level rise on the City’s microgrid project. The City of Summerside and Samsung Renewable Energy are developing a community microgrid to generate 33,000 MWh in solar photovoltaic (PV) energy per year. This would provide 62% green energy for the community and reduce reliance on New Brunswick’s power grid from 58.2% to 37.4%.
The PIEVC protocol was executed to assess the vulnerability of the microgrid and storage system to future climate impacts. Historical mean values for relevant climate parameters (temperature, precipitation as snow and rain, sea level rise, storm surges, solar radiation, and clouds) were identified and compared to future projections (2021-2050 and 2051-2080) for RCP 8.5 (high emissions scenario) in Summerside. To determine the risk of climate-infrastructure interactions, probability and consequence scores were assigned for 76 climate-infrastructure interactions. Probability scores were based on the likelihood of a climate parameter triggering an infrastructure threshold, where it was assumed that if the threshold was triggered, the infrastructure’s performance or productivity would be hindered. Only 13 interactions were deemed medium-high risk, and none were high risk. As the climate resilience assessment was completed before the final design was confirmed and equipment was selected, several recommendations were made to increase resilience against extreme temperature, heavy precipitation events, and sea level rise. As of summer 2022, construction is underway, and the system is expected to be fully operational by December 2022.