There is now a set of tools that can help countries assess how vulnerable their energy sector is. Such assessments will be critical for countries to both mitigate and adapt to climate change. The toolkit―HEAT, a Hands-on Energy Adaptation Toolkit, has its roots in work done in 2008. At that time, I contributed to an Eastern Europe and Central Asia wide paper that took stock of projected climate impacts to understand the countries or sectors that were most vulnerable, and to get some sense of the level of exposure. I worked with colleagues to explore what this meant in an energy context. Our starting point was to ask a series of questions: what changes were we concerned about? How could they affect energy planning, design and operations? How big a risk did this pose to energy security? What experience was there in coping with these issues?
What emerged was enlightening. Many countries are increasingly vulnerable to changes in seasonal weather patterns, weather variability and extreme events e.g. droughts, floods, heat waves―that can affect the production and supply of energy and affect seasonal energy demand. The degree of exposure depends on the amount of change, how the sector is sensitive to or is affected by these changes and the ability to cope with impacts. This is further exacerbated by socio-economic and inherited issues (e.g. inefficient use of energy and water resources) that affect the coping or adaptive capacity of a country. Out of all we learned, came the development of HEAT.