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Canadian renewable energy operators urged to invest now to protect infrastructure from climate risk

Wind and solar operators in Canada are being urged to reduce the likelihood of future catastrophic grid outages by making their infrastructure more resilient to climate change.

Renewable energy operators from across the country are gathered at a conference in Calgary to discuss the risks climate change-related extreme weather poses to their industry.

Vittoria Bellissimo of the Canadian Renewable Energy Association says all types of power generation, including fossil fuel-fired production, is vulnerable to damage or outages in the event of natural disasters such as wildfire, flooding and severe storms.

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She says as renewable power makes up a greater proportion of overall electricity generation, operators will need to consider whether their infrastructure is prepared for a changing climate and an increasing number of severe weather events.

In an extreme example of what severe weather can do to renewable energy infrastructure, a 2019 hailstorm that hit a solar farm in Texas damaged 400,000 out of the site’s 685,000 panels, resulting in losses estimated at more than US$70 million.

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Bellissimo says there are many things operators can do to make their infrastructure more resilient, from choosing the right location for renewable generation to investing in technology.

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