Investigate Climate-change-induced Vulnerability of the Northern California Natural Gas Energy System and Identify Resilience Options

Assessing the climate vulnerability of northern California's natural gas system

University of California, Santa Cruz


Santa Cruz, CA

Recipient Location


Senate District


Assembly District



Amount Spent



Project Status

Project Result

Researchers determined sea-level-rise and wildfire risks under different climate change scenarios in northern California, allowing them to calculate the probability that natural gas facilities may be inundated or burned. A population-based approach was applied to approximate the magnitude of the natural gas service disruption associated with each facility under sea-level rise and wildfire scenarios. The magnitude of such service disruptions was subsequently fed into a model that was developed to quantify the economic impacts resulting from natural gas service disruption, including those that go beyond the natural gas sector. Finally, the project developed a decision-support tool that optimizes the types and timing of resilience options while balancing their costs and benefits or avoided losses resulting from service disruption throughout the state's economy. The project ended March 31, 2021.

The Issue

Climate change-induced hazards are likely to increase the risks to the California natural gas system, especially to those facilities located in climate change hazardous areas. While the existing infrastructure is mainly designed to sustain 100-year events, the effects of climate change may lead to more frequent occurrences of these events in the near future. The situation could be exacerbated by the fact that there is significant uncertainty in predicting the timing and location of climate change-induced hazards.

Project Innovation

The researchers developed a system-level risk-analysis framework that builds upon regional economic models coupled with a decision-support tool to 1) address the vulnerability of the northern California natural gas system to climate-change-induced sea-level rise and wildfire and 2) identify resilience options and the timing of their implementation. [br/][br/] [br/][br/] [br/][br/] [br/][br/] [br/][br/]

Project Benefits

This research is developing a system-level risk analysis framework that builds upon bottom-up modeling of the natural gas system coupled with regional economic models. The project will promote resilience of the northern California natural gas system to climate change-induced weather events by identifying infrastructure investment needs and the timing of their implementation.

Greater Reliability


This project is developing a technical-economic model, in collaboration with PG&E, to identify system vulnerabilities related to infrastructure and operations.

Increase Safety


This project will help determine circumstances under which infrastructure (e.g., pipelines) might fail with sufficient lead time to address these vulnerabilities.

Key Project Members

Project Member

Yihsu Chen

Associate Professor



Purdue University


California State University, Fresno Foundation


JM Guldmann


Contact the Team