Adapting to global warming is a big expense on top of investments in renewables and efficiency, according to stakeholders June 4 at a California Energy Commission workshop. \tThe expenses come at the same time the state is imposing costs on the energy sector to reduce greenhouse gases. But scientists increasingly are saying that whether or not Californians cut greenhouse gases, the time for climate change adaptation is here. \tMore hot days mean more thermal power plant inefficiencies, power industry consultant John Maulbetsch said. Cooling fossil-fueled power plants on hot days becomes more difficult because back pressure builds up, reducing turbine efficiency and power production. \tTo keep plant output up during extreme temperature conditions, Maulbetsch said generators may have to invest in new facilities to enhance plant cooling, including wind screens to guard against hot wind, inlet sprayers to cool air before it goes into turbines, and other equipment. \tSpecific climate impacts were noted by utility representatives. \tThe Sacramento Municipal Utility District expects four times the number of heat wave days in its territory, according to Kathleen Ave. This could result in a 20 percent increase in power demand as muni customers turn on air conditioners, she notes. \tThe Los Angeles Department of Water & Power faces similar prospects, noted Gretchen Hardison, climate director for the muni. Temperatures are expected to rise in some parts of its service territory by as much as 7.5 degree Fahrenheit by mid-century she said. \tThe changes have financial implications, including the potential need to build or contract for more power facilities and the possibility that natural gas prices could spike due to rising demand, according to Ave. \tFor SMUD, not only is the potential for thermal plant output to fall a concern, but also loss of hydropower due to the changing hydrology of the Sierras as warming occurs. \tSacramento\u2019s neighbor, Pacific Gas & Electric, already is experiencing a shift of water flow at some of its dams, with a surge in March and lower flow during the traditional hydropower season, according to Craig Bolger, utility acting principal hydrologist. It\u2019s happening due to warmer temperatures that cause more winter precipitation to fall as rain instead of snow. Warmer temperatures then melt the remaining snow pack earlier than when the facilities were built. \tThe resulting loss of snowpack has reduced groundwater charging, which in turn has reduced the outflow of groundwater into water courses after winter ends. \tBolger said the changes have been particularly notable at Lake Almanor and along the north fork of the Feather River. Depending on the location, he said temperatures in January have been up to 9 degrees warmer over the last 35 years than they were over the previous 35 years. \tIf the present trends continue, Bolger said within 12 to 13 years the utility\u2019s hydropower production would begin to decline. In addition the climate change impacts for the energy industry may lead to: * Armoring facilities against more frequent floods and fires; * Eventually moving some facilities due to sea level rise; * Meeting growing demand for energy to ensure customer comfort; and * Financial risks from potentially rising costs for natural gas and damage to facilities from extreme weather. \tObservations show climate \u201cextremes\u201d already are growing, according to Dan Cayan, Scripps Institution of Oceanography research meteorologist. Projections, he said, show they will continue to do so throughout the remainder of the century. \tIn the San Francisco Bay-Delta region, sea level rise portends a threat to refineries, power plants, and pipelines, noted John Radke, University of California at Berkeley researcher. \t\u201cToday\u2019s \u2018100-year\u2019 storm will occur more often and eventually year after year,\u201d he said. Facilities will have to be armored and some eventually moved as the level of the bay rises and storm surges inundate areas now home to energy facilities, houses, and businesses.