Guide to Adaptation Planning for Electricity Companies in Canada

Canada’s climate is changing, as is the frequency, intensity, and duration of extreme weather events. These changes can pose significant risks for electricity companies—risks that must be managed through adaptation. Changing climate and extreme weather patterns have the potential to be enterprise risks. Weather-related risks (and opportunities) have been recognized and managed since the inception of the electrical sector. Most of the risks companies will identify through their adaptation processes will not be new risks so much as existing ones that are exacerbated by climate change.

This guidance document (hereafter “Guide”) will address both climate and weather with the following distinction:

Weather refers to the (short-term) state of the atmosphere with regard to temperature, cloudiness, rainfall, wind, and other meteorological conditions.

Climate can be understood as the “average weather”—i.e., the statistical description in terms of the mean and fluctuation of relevant variables such as temperature, precipitation, and wind over a long period of time ranging from months to thousands or millions of years.

It is critical for companies to consider both weather and climate. In terms of weather, the Guide will address extremes, and for climate, it will discuss means.

In response to weather and climate risks, the Canadian Electricity Association (CEA) has set a series of aspirational targets as part of its mandatory Sustainable ElectricityTM program. To assist members’ activities to adapt to climate change and extreme weather, CEA has committed to providing tools and support by the end of 2020 for companies to create their own adaptation plans. This document is intended to meet CEA member requests for practical guidance that serves the needs of companies navigating the adaptation process.

While CEA’s goal is aspirational, the need for robust adaptation planning to help ensure resilience may be driven with greater urgency by each organization’s assessment of other factors such as its risk exposure, stakeholder expectations, its desire to demonstrate due diligence in conformity with other requirements such as ISO 14001, and sound asset management strategies.

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