A Framework for Assessing the Impact of Extreme Heat and Drought Climate Scenarios on Urban Energy Production and Consumption


This research will produce novel, rigorous and integrative methods that will contribute to society’s capacity for effectively managing city-scale electricity systems during periods of extreme heat and drought. The modern electric grid, which includes both electricity consumers and producers, faces significant challenges and uncertainties, including increased frequency and intensity of heat waves and droughts. Concurrently, the processes underlying electricity production and consumption are becoming more complex, due in part to advances in electric grid-connected technologies and the demand-side management programs that control them. This research will improve knowledge of city-specific future extreme heat and drought scenarios, as well as quantification of the impact of extreme events under these scenarios on a city’s electricity consumption and production. Findings from this research have the potential to significantly impact the way cities and electric utility operators manage electric grids under extreme heat and drought conditions.
This project addresses vital links between climate modeling, consumption and production, and seeks to contribute to the following scientific advancements: 1) development of effective methods for generating refined future extreme heat and drought scenarios utilizing disparate sources of data of varying fidelity, such as historical observations; 2) development of a flexible electricity consumption model integrated with demand-side management strategies using bottom-up energy and demand modeling methods; 3) development of a data-driven stochastic optimization method for robust power-generation decision strategies that considers various sources of uncertainty, including weather and the consumption and production of electricity.
Dr. Kristen Cetin
Assistant Professor 

Dr. Cetin is an Assistant Professor at Iowa State University in the Department of Civil, Construction and Environmental Engineering. She building energy use and performance, including how to improve energy efficiency, reduce energy use, and reduce peak electric grid load contributions, as well as building sustainability.  She is also interested in smart technologies, and how the use and integration of the Internet of Things (IoT) can enhance building performance, comfort, and real-time assessment of performance. Dr. Cetin also has experience in the assessment of the thermal and hygrothermal performance of buildings, and development of inverse grey-box and black-box models for building energy performance.

Dr Cetin leads the overall project across Iowa State University, University of Michigan and University of Texas at Austin. Her main contributions are in modeling of energy consumption of peak electricity demands and assessment of impacts of peak demand reduction strategies on city level consumption during the modeled extreme events.

Dr. William Gallus

Dr. William Gallus

Dr. William Gallus is a professor of Meteorology at Iowa State University. He has published 90 refereed journal papers and book chapters in his main research areas of mesoscale meteorology and numerical weather prediction, and has received the Iowa State University College of Liberal Arts and Sciences Award for Outstanding Research Achievement. He teaches courses on synoptic and mesoscale meteorology and has received the Iowa State Foundation Award for Outstanding Achievement in Teaching, and is a Master Teacher of the Liberal Arts and Sciences College. He has been interviewed in print and on television over 100 times to discuss severe thunderstorms, tornadoes, and other aspects of his research. He has served as chief-editor of the American Meteorological Society publication Weather and Forecasting and has been a frequent invited visitor to weather forecasting projects at several national laboratories.

His contribution in this project is overseeing the research to determine the most likely future extreme heat wave and drought events based on both past observations and climate model projections of future climate.

Dr. Yuyu Zhou
Assistant Professor 

Dr. Youo Zhou

Dr. Zhou’s research interests lie in the applications of geospatial technologies including remote sensing, GIS, geovisualization, spatial analytic tools, and integrated assessment modeling to understanding the problems of global environmental change (e.g., urbanization, urban heat island, ecosystem phenology, energy supply and demand, and greenhouse gas emissions) and their potential solutions. His research focus has always been in quantifying spatiotemporal patterns of environmental change and developing modeling mechanisms to bridge the driving forces (both natural and socioeconomic factors) and consequences of environmental change so that the impacts of human activities on environment can be effectively measured, modeled, and evaluated.

His contribution in this project focuses on research of building energy use modeling and extreme event impacts at the city scale.


Dr. Lance Manuel

Dr. Lance ManuelDr. Lance Manuel is the T.U.Taylor Professor of Engineering at the University of Texas at Austin. Lance conducts research related to modeling of the uncertainty in load and response characteristics of various engineered systems but mainly civil engineering works and energy-generating structures. His current research focus is directed toward improving the design practice for wind turbines and, hence, their reliability, especially for complex inflow turbulence conditions and extreme climate events such as thunderstorm downbursts and hurricanes. Lance was a recipient of the 2015 ASCE Stephen D. Bechtel, Jr. Energy Award given in recognition of outstanding achievements in the energy field by a civil engineer. A National Science Foundation CAREER Awardee (for research on inflow turbulence, loads, and reliability-based design of wind turbines), Lance serves as the Editor of the ASME Journal of Offshore Mechanics and Arctic Engineering and is on the editorial boards of Energies; Journal of Infrastructure Systems (ASCE); Journal of Waterway, Port, Coastal, and Ocean Engineering (ASCE); and Wind Engineering and Science, Frontiers in Built Environment.

The group at UT-Austin, led by Lance, is concerned with uncertainty quantification as it relates to both demand and production of energy in cities in the face of extreme heat and drought conditions. With the Iowa State University team, the UT-Austin team will develop data-driven models for assessing city-scale building energy consumption uncertainties; also, with the University of Michigan, they will address power dispatch decisions under uncertainty. These studies will employ city-scale historic data and models for extreme heat and drought climate scenarios.

Dr. Eunshin Byon 
Associate Professor 

Dr. Eunshin ByonProfessor Eunshin Byon received her Ph.D. degree in the Industrial and Systems Engineering Department from the Texas A&M University, College Station, TX, USA, in 2010. She is an Associate Professor with the Department of Industrial and Operations Engineering and the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering (courtesy appointment) at the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, MI, USA.

For this project, she contributes to data analytics, uncertainty quantification and decision-making under uncertainties.

Dr. David Jahn
Postdoctoral Scholar 

Dr. David JhanDr. Jahn is a postdoctoral researcher within the Dept. of Geological and Atmospheric Sciences at Iowa State University (ISU). He earned his Ph.D. in meteorology and wind energy science, engineering, and policy from ISU and holds master’s degrees in electrical engineering and meteorology. He has over 20 years’ experience working in meteorological research and research administration, both in academia and private industry. He has lived several years overseas in both East Asia and Europe. His research has involved numerical modeling of severe storms, modification of model microphysics and boundary layer parameterization schemes, wind forecasting, as well as evaluation of climate forecasts of wind, temperature, and hydro forecasts in the U.S.

His contribution in this project is identifying extreme heat and drought cases in Austin and Des Moines both historically and most likely to occur by 2040 based on climate model data. For select cases, he will generate relatively high spatial resolution temperature forecasts for the two cities using the Weather Research Forecast model, assessing also the model urban parameterization scheme in the depiction of the urban heat effect.

Elham Jahani
PhD Student. 

Elham is a PhD student in the Department of Civil, Construction and Environmental Engineering with a focus on Intelligent Infrastructure Engineering, advised by Dr. Cetin. She completed her BSc degree in Geomatics Engineering at Iran University of Science and Technology and worked for four years in industry in Iran in the field of Geomatics and Construction. She continued her masters studies in the field of Sustainable Environment and Energy Systems at Middle East Technical University (METU). Her masters thesis was on the application of sustainable practices for improving water management in urban areas. During her studies at METU, she also  conducted research on renewable energy resources and employing renewable hybrid energy systems for providing clean energy for communities located on islands based on meteorological data. Her research areas of interest include sustainable approaches to enable more resilient cities and communities with regards to water and energy issues.

Her main contribution to this research focuses on the collection and analysis of energy data for use in the development of city-scale energy models. This includes more specifically a focus on the development of detailed building energy models, through modifications to EnergyPlus, that in real time, can assess the energy demand of residential and commercial buildings, as well as the impact of city-wide demand response and other peak load reduction programs on city-scale energy demands in response to extreme heat and drought.

Phong Nguyen
PhD Student. 

Phong is a PhD student in Department of Civil, Architectural and Environmental Engineering at the University of Texas at Austin. He joined UT Austin in the fall of 2015. His research interests is on Uncertainty Quantification with a focus on uncertainty propagation methodologies, environmental characterization and applications in wave energy converter’s extreme load analysis and engineering structures.

He will work on the quantification of uncertainty for electricity consumption and production models.

Qiyen Pan
PhD Student. 

She is a fourth year Ph.D. candidate in the Industrial & Operations Engineering (IOE) Department of the University of Michigan. Her research interests are in statistical simulations with a focus on variance reduction and adaptive sampling optimization methods as well as predictive modeling with machine learning methods.

Her expertise for this project is statistical uncertainty quantification and analysis, including analysis for the current and future weather data, as well as electricity production and consumption.