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The University of Southampton
Clean Carbon

Adaptation and Resilience of Coastal Energy Supply (ARCoES)

Documenting scientific study of sea level rises to investigate the safety of our energy supply

Over the last century, relative sea levels (that's vertical changes in the land level, plus changes in sea-level) have risen over much of the UK by a few millimetres each year. It is very likely that this will continue. Although this amount sounds very small, over many decades this can add up to significant amounts. This has worried engineers and planners as they believe sea-level rise and any increase in storminess (i.e. how big the waves are) could damage energy infrastructure situated on the coast, such as nuclear power stations. The ARCoES project, led by Professor Robert Nicholls, documents what engineers are particularly concerned about, and then scientists analyse whether these concerns will actually happen. They also think about what would happen if any energy infrastructure was flooded, and what that would mean for the wider network. The project aims to supplement existing energy assessments, by looking at the long-term threats posed to future energy generation and the distribution network.

Energy is a key requirement that underpins economic sustainability and wellbeing. Without it, our world will change entirely, so making sure we have secure, safe uninterrupted and affordable energy supply for years to come is very important. Energy can be generated in many different ways, such as from coal, gas, nuclear wind, waves. This project involves a cross-disciplinary team of scientists who aim to better understand how the energy network can be sustained in the future. It also considers how the energy network will be affected by climate change, and how it can become more resilient, meeting our energy needs as we move to a low carbon future.

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