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Global trends in urban electricity demands for cooling and heating

Michael Waite, Elliot Cohen, Henri Torbey, Michael Piccirilli, Yu Tian and Vijay Modi

Energy, 2017, vol. 127, issue C, 786-802

Abstract: As the tropics and subtropics become increasingly urban, industrial and affluent, energy demands for thermal comfort may evolve differently than they have historically across the global North. Already, heating, ventilation and air conditioning account for 35% of total primary energy in the United States, and are expected to reach similar proportions in China within 5 years. With increasing population in high temperature areas, electricity demand for increased air-conditioning usage may drive extreme electricity peak demands and total usage. This paper presents comparative estimates of peak and annual electric cooling and heating electricity usage at the city-scale, including both OECD and non-OECD member cities. Our results indicate that mature urban economies of the OECD exhibit a cooling electricity response of 35–90 Watts per °C per capita above room temperature for cooling (interquartile range of estimates). Tropical/subtropical cities outside the OECD (mostly in South Asia, Africa and the Middle East) currently demand just 2–9 W/°C/capita, indicating significant growth in temperature-dependent electricity demand as air conditioning is adopted. A similar story is unfolding on the heating side, with subtropical cities adopting electric resistive heaters, potentially precipitating additional electricity generation and delivery concerns, particularly electric resistance heating is adopted instead of heat pumps.

Keywords: Urban energy; Building energy demand; Air conditioning; Changepoint regression (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2017
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DOI: 10.1016/

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