Energy and Meteorology Portal

Energy Resilience

A climate-resilient energy system able to anticipate, absorb, accommodate and recover from adverse climate impacts and improve performance, is highly needed to enhance energy security (IEA, 2020). This can be achieved as a result of constant learning and adaptation, and for this the information provided by weather forecasts and climate projections is vital.

A climate-resilient energy system needs to have three key characteristics: Robustness, Resourcefulness and Recovery. These allow systems to withstand changes, manage operations during extreme weather events and restore the system’s function as soon as possible after the event (IEA, 2020, Figure 1).  

Energy Resilience fig 1

Robustness is the ability of an energy system to withstand the gradual long-term changes in climate patterns and continue operation. For example, thermal power plants that use recirculating water for cooling could be more resilient to increasing temperatures than those that use external sources such as rivers or lakes.


Resourcefulness is the ability to continue operation during immediate shocks such as extreme weather events. For example, a hydropower plant with a flood control reservoir is more likely to sustain a minimum acceptable level of operation in the face of floods than those without.


Recovery is the ability to restore the system’s function after an interruption resulting from climate hazards. A more resilient electricity system with a well-coordinated contingency plan for communications, temporary assets and workforce will recover faster from the interruptions caused by climate impacts.

Figure 1. Climate resilience of energy systems. Source: IEA Climate resilience.

Key aspects of a resilient system are (Gatto and Drago, 2019, IEA, 2021):

  • Flexibility and Adaptability to reduce the potential damage and loss from climate impacts.
  • Assessment and evaluation on a regular basis to inform adequate resilience actions
  • Implementation of climate resilience measures that can contribute to improved electricity access.
  • Assessment and mitigation of climate change risks on infrastructure
  • Reinforcement of economic performance and ecological sustainability
  • Clean energy transition to a diverse set of renewable energy sources
  • Local or regional active communities of users that use energy efficiently and reduce unnecessary energy consumption.
  • Just and holistic policies, stemming from preparedness, flexibility, and learning capacity.
  • Climate risk disclosures that promote trust and allow for safe investment and planning

An important aspect of Climate resilience is weatherproofing of infrastructure and processes, where the necessary design modifications to the assets need to be planned after performing a Climate risk assessment. The processes and strategies to respond to hazards and for general management of operations, transmission and inter-grid connections also need to take into account climate risks to increase response efficiency and reduce the likelihood of human losses and power outages (Troccoli, 2018). 

Improving the reliability and efficiency of the energy system requires a comprehensive approach that includes technological (integration of energy efficient infrastructures and technologies), behavioral (updating emergency and maintenance manuals, as well as personnel training in order to minimize operational risks) and institutional measures (development of intersectoral cooperation, diversification of energy systems) (US Climate Adaptation and Resilience Plan, 2021)