Climate risk assessment and cascading impacts: Risks and opportunities for an electrical utility in the U.S. Southwest

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11 Scopus citations


Climate risks pose a particular set of challenges to electrical utilities, who must manage the direct impacts of climate and weather, as well as how related effects might propagate through networks of interconnected social and environmental risks. In this paper, we present a case study example of climate services development, co-produced between a regional electrical utility and researchers at the University of Arizona, that integrates and adapts a climate risk management framework to better connect university climate expertise with utility needs for climate risk management and planning. We detail the process by which our project team partnered with the utility to identify primary areas of concern for the electrical utility sector in the Southwest, and craft a qualitative assessment of these climate risks with the utility. We describe the iterative engagement process where operational implications associated with climate risks were identified including points of intervention for the utility, as part of their integrated resource planning process, and the cascading impacts that play a part in the larger decision context. We emphasize the role of novel analyses and curated data and information in the development of tailored climate services, as well as the importance of cultivating collaborative relationships between university researchers and community stakeholders and practitioners early on in research projects in order to better include their values, perspectives, and insights in the research process.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number100240
JournalClimate Risk Management
StatePublished - 2020


  • Climate risk management
  • Fire
  • Heat
  • Universities
  • Utilities
  • Water

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Global and Planetary Change
  • Geography, Planning and Development
  • Atmospheric Science
  • Management, Monitoring, Policy and Law


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