European electricity consumption under climate change

A study estimates future electricity consumption across Europe under projected climate change. To examine the future of Europe's electricity consumption patterns under anthropogenic climate change, Leonie Wenz and colleagues analyzed high-frequency temperature and electricity use data from 35 European countries between 2006 and 2012, and projected the countries' electricity consumption for the period from 2013 to 2099. The authors found that at the country level daily peak electricity use was generally low when daily maximum temperatures were approximately 22 °C, and increased if daily maximum temperatures either rose or fell. To make electricity use projections, the authors assumed that rising temperatures are likely to lead Europeans living in currently cool climates to adapt to higher temperatures through practices such as installing air conditioners. Based on current electricity use patterns from European countries with warm climates, the authors predict that average daily peak usage and electricity consumption are likely to decrease in Northern Europe and largely increase in Southern and Western Europe under future warming. Furthermore, the authors found that consumption in many European countries is likely to peak in summer instead of winter by the end of the century. According to the authors, the projected seasonal and geographic shifts in consumption patterns are likely to affect transmission infrastructure, peak-generating capacity, and storage requirements.

Article #17-04339: "North-south polarization of European electricity consumption under future warming," by Leonie Wenz, Anders Levermann, and Maximilian Auffhammer.