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ComEd, Argonne Team Up to Study the Impact of Climate Change on the Power Grid



ComEd, Argonne Team Up to Study the Impact  

of Climate Change on the Power Grid  

First Study Launched in Concert with EPRI’s Climate READi™: Power Initiative 

CHICAGO (May 25, 2022) – ComEd, in partnership with the U.S. Department of Energy’s  (DOE) Argonne National Laboratory’s Center for Climate Resilience and Decision Science, today announced it is launching a comprehensive Climate Risk and Adaptation Study, which will  examine the impact of changing weather due to climate change, including sustained heat and  flooding risk, on the design and performance of the power grid in the region. This is the first  study to be launched in concert with the Electric Power Research Institute’s (EPRI) Climate  READi™: Power (REsilience and ADaptation initiative), a recently announced, three-year global  program on climate change risk. ComEd’s parent company, Exelon Corporation, is one of 13 founding members of the initiative.  

The collaboration between ComEd, Argonne and EPRI will build upon established climate  science and industry best practices to help ComEd plan and build infrastructure that is more  resilient to the climate changes that pose growing risks to the grid. This will be the first climate  adaptation study in the region and one of the only studies in the nation to incorporate the impact  of increased electrification into the climate risk planning process. The study will further inform  ComEd’s grid plans, including the company’s Multi-Year Integrated Grid Plan, which will be filed  with the Illinois Commerce Commission (ICC) in January 2023 as required by the Climate and  Equitable Jobs Act (CEJA). 

“Families and businesses in northern Illinois have a front-row seat to the increasingly severe  weather caused by climate change, which has brought record-breaking temperature swings,  historic tornadoes and hurricane-strength winds that continue to test the resiliency of the power  grid and the reliable energy our customers have come to expect,” said ComEd CEO Gil  Quiniones. “As we plan the future grid investments required to enable the state’s clean energy  transition, it is essential that we fully understand future grid challenges – including the impact of climate change and electrification – to ensure our grid can adapt to changing conditions and  maintain our outstanding system reliability and resiliency. We expect that the final report of this  study will be released no later than the filing of our new Grid Plan so that our customers and  other grid stakeholders can also consider it.” 

Many parts of the grid are impacted by weather conditions, including heat, wind, flooding and  icing. New weather patterns will test the limits of existing utility equipment standards and will  create a challenging operational environment. At the same time, decarbonization efforts like  electrification will place even more reliance on the grid as electricity demand increases in transportation, buildings, and industry. 

"Argonne's partnership with ComEd shows what's possible when science and industry work  together for climate resiliency," said Argonne Director Paul Kearns. “It's exciting to see that our  collaboration supports effective planning for ComEd and the communities it serves with the  application of our climate, infrastructure, and decision science capabilities. Ultimately, our  

shared goal is to provide clean, affordable, reliable power that households and businesses  depend on, and ensure they are prepared for whatever future climate events unfold.” 

Argonne’s analysis of future climate conditions for Northern Illinois will help ComEd to select the  most effective and efficient methods for adapting to the impacts, bringing new insights to  ComEd’s industry-leading grid planning practices. To understand how changing weather will  impact the grid, Argonne researchers will use two climate risk pathways to identify scenarios  that would exceed current design standards. Today’s best practices in grid planning look at  historical weather, but climate change forces the utilities to look into the future and anticipate  unprecedented weather conditions. This close collaboration between climate scientists, risk  analysts and power systems engineers will help ComEd to ensure that the grid is ready to meet  customers’ needs for years to come. 

Climate READi, launched in late April, will convene global thought leaders and industry  stakeholders to develop a common framework to address power system climate resilience  and adaptation. The Climate READi framework produced from this effort will embody one of  the most comprehensive, integrated approaches to physical climate risk assessment. 

“As extreme weather events increase in frequency and intensity, along with society’s  dependence on electricity, it will require significant proactive planning and collaboration among  the energy sector and its stakeholders,” said EPRI President and CEO Arshad Mansoor. “This  Climate Risk and Adaptation Study will play an integral role in informing ComEd and its partners  how to prepare for the changing weather and climate of the future. We applaud ComEd for its  proactive participation and look forward to working with it and other partners on this important  effort, which could serve as a blueprint for a more resilient energy system as part of the clean,  affordable and reliable clean energy future.” 

As the nation’s utilities are increasingly challenged by severe weather associated with climate  change, ComEd in the first three months of 2022 delivered its most reliable service on record for  any first quarter in the company’s history. Since starting smart grid investments in 2012, ComEd  has avoided more than 17 million customer interruptions due in part to smart grid and system  improvements, including digital “smart switches” that automatically reroute power around  potential problem areas. These investments have helped save customers more than $3 billion in avoided outages and many millions more through efficiencies created by technologies like smart  meters that help resolve outages remotely. 


ComEd is a unit of Chicago-based Exelon Corporation (NASDAQ: EXC), a Fortune 200 energy  company with approximately 10 million electricity and natural gas customers – the largest  number of customers in the U.S. ComEd powers the lives of more than 4 million customers  across northern Illinois, or 70 percent of the state’s population. For more information visit and connect with the company on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and YouTube

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