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Exploring utility organization electricity generation, residential electricity consumption, and energy efficiency: A climatic approach

Christopher A. Craig and Song Feng

Applied Energy, 2017, vol. 185, issue P1, 779-790

Abstract: This study examined the impact of electricity generation by fuel source type and electricity consumption on carbon emissions to assess the role of climatic variability and energy efficiency (EE) in the United States. Despite high levels of greenhouse gas emissions, residential electricity consumption continues to increase in the United States and fossil fuels are the primary fuel source of electricity generation. 97.2% of the variability in carbon emissions in the electricity industry was explained by electricity generation from coal and residential electricity consumption. The relationships between residential electricity consumption, short-term climatic variability, long-term climatic trends, short-term reduction in electricity from EE programs, and long-term trends in EE programs was examined. This is the first study of its nature to examine these relationships across the 48 contiguous United States. Inter-year and long-term trends in cooling degree days, or days above a baseline temperature, were the primary climatic drivers of residential electricity consumption. Cooling degree days increased across the majority of the United States during the study period, and shared a positive relationship with residential electricity consumption when findings were significant. The majority of electricity reduction from EE programs was negatively related to residential electricity consumption where findings were significant. However, the trend across the majority of states was a decrease in electricity reduction from EE while residential electricity consumption increased. States that successfully reduced consumption are discussed, in addition to the potential use of communication theory to design interventions aimed at improving EE program success.

Keywords: Electricity; Energy efficiency; Utility; Climate; Generation; Efficiency; Climate change (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2017
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