IEEE Power & Energy Magazine - September/October 2014 - 30

The power sector therefore needs not only to consider
how to adapt to climate change but also how to prevent it
in the first place.
and of power transmission and distribution lines." Changes in
rainfall levels, increases in water and air temperatures, and the
increasing strength and frequency of storms and power outages will all place added stress on generation efficiency and
the capacity of grid networks.
the power sector therefore needs not only to consider
how to adapt to climate change but also how to prevent it
in the first place. As the sector considers how to cope with
climate change, a twinned, integrated strategy incorporating
both mitigation and adaptation will be required. this joint
strategy will not only provide more time for the cost-effective design and implementation of adaptation measures but
will ideally result in a more resilient grid in the longer term.
As the dark cloud from China reminded us, mitigation
and adaptation efforts cannot be confined to the United states
because the rest of the world is affecting our future, too. We
will need to harness the forces of globalization to catalyze the
diffusion of mitigation and adaptation technologies all around
the world. though the threat of global climate change can
seem overwhelming, there is plenty of good news. technological innovation is no longer a national process. firms, research
institutes, and industries in many countries are already contributing to the development and deployment of cleaner energy
technologies, ranging from natural gas to carbon capture and
storage to solar photovoltaic (Pv) generation.
in this article, we focus on an essential component in the
strategy the electric power industry must follow to adapt to
climate change as well as mitigate it: the Pv technology sector. Drawing on Kelly sims gallagher's new book, The Globalization of Clean Energy Technology: Lessons from China
(the Mit Press, 2014), this article will explore how the
Chinese solar Pv module manufacturing industry developed
so quickly as well as describe the policies that have already
incentivized the global diffusion of this cleaner energy technology in dozens of countries around the world. Lessons will
be drawn from this case for the U.s. power sector.
table 1. The global export share
of solar PV technology components
(source: Cao and Groba, 2013).
United States
2000

30

15.9%

China

Adaptation of the electric power sector could be considered an adjustment of the power system in response to the
actual or expected effects of climatic change. According
to Climate Risk and Adaptation in the Electric Power
Sector (Asian Development bank, 2012), this adjustment
should aim to moderate potential harm or exploit beneficial
opportunities. in the current context of climatic changes
that are already happening and predictions for additional
stronger and more deleterious impacts, adaptation of the
electricity system to the new conditions is simply unavoidable. the increasing strength and frequency of storms and
consequent higher frequency and severity of power outages
causing damage to the power infrastructure require not
only higher maintenance and repair outlays but structural
changes that would make the overall system more physically resilient as well.
While adaptation is mainly made up of measures and
activities that respond to an uncertain but altered future,
mitigation concentrates on preventing, slowing, or otherwise limiting activities that in the future would further
increase the need for costly adaptation. Mitigation efforts
in the power sector certainly include measures for diminishing the levels of the greenhouse gas emissions generated
and released by power plants. While adaptation is localized
and must respond to specific conditions or damages that are
limited in area and scope, mitigation has a global effect.
still, adaptation measures may require the use of technologies sourced from other countries.
Although we have historically thought about mitigation
and adaptation separately, the implementation of certain
measures, such as deploying renewable generating technologies, has the potential to achieve both goals. in some situations, renewable energy generation coupled with smaller
"minigrids" or decentralized generation could be part of a
dual mitigation-adaptation strategy. in the realm of demand
response, more energy-efficient buildings that are designed
to "climate-proof" codes could prove more resilient in the
long run while reducing load on the grid. these two examples show that rapid diffusion of cleaner and more efficient
energy technologies is a strategy that could provide a double service.

7.4%

2004

9.9%

15.0%

2008

6.3%

30.6%

2010

5.2%

39.1%

ieee power & energy magazine

Adaptation, Mitigation, or Both?

Role of Solar PV
Among the renewable energy technologies for electricity generation, solar Pv gained an unexpectedly dominant
position during the last decade. between 2005 and 2012, the
september/october 2014



Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of IEEE Power & Energy Magazine - September/October 2014

IEEE Power & Energy Magazine - September/October 2014 - Cover1
IEEE Power & Energy Magazine - September/October 2014 - Cover2
IEEE Power & Energy Magazine - September/October 2014 - 1
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IEEE Power & Energy Magazine - September/October 2014 - Cover3
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