Master's student Megan Lickley measures the risks of climate change on coastal energy infrastructure
A Masters student in the Technology and Policy Program, Megan Lickley studies the impact of climate change on coastal energy infrastructure. In particular, she is looking at how sea level rise and hurricanes will change over time, and how these changes will affect petroleum refineries, offshore wind facilities, or nuclear power plants located along the eastern US coast.
Prior to joining the Joint Program, Megan used her background in mathematics and modeling to study ocean dynamics and tidal power in her native Canada. Now in the preliminary stages of her work, she is using different models to anticipate how hurricane frequency and intensity will change over the coming century in order to analyze the amount of potential storm surge that could threaten energy infrastructure along the coast.
"It is an interesting problem when you're looking at economics too," explains Megan. "We must not only look at existing infrastructure, but we also need to consider future developments to understand what infrastructure could be in harm's way in the next 50, 100 years. Information on the impacts of climate change will be useful for the Department of Energy as they make decisions on where to invest in future developments and to what extent they should be investing in flood protection from sea level rise and storm surge."
Megan became interested in her project when she visited the Joint Program. "This is a very stimulating group to be a part of," notes Megan. "There is a variety of work going on surrounding emissions scenarios and policy and their resulting impacts on climate change. These are the big questions of the future that we should be addressing now and I am excited to be surrounded by people looking to address these questions."