Summer Energy Demand Will Trend Higher

Mark Leidner, Staff Scientist, AER
January 26, 2011

Increasing demand for energy in the summer will continue to outpace the growth of winter energy use. In results presented by AER today at the Second AMS Conference on Weather, Climate, and the New Economy, the analysis of primary energy consumption in the US over the last 38 years shows the peak in summer energy demand has grown steadily since the 1970's, and is now nearly comparable to the peak energy demand in winter.

Further analysis of climate models looking forward 30 years suggests continued warming in the US that will result in increased energy demands in summer and flat or reduced energy consumption in winter.

The substantial rise in summertime energy consumption is certainly affected by the use of more air conditioning and population shifts (i.e., Baby Boomers moving to the southwest in their retirement) since the 1970's, but as much as half of the increase in summer energy consumption can be attributed to increasing temperatures as the world's climate warms.

These findings were presented for the first time today in the session “Seasonal Weather Variation and Its Impact on the Energy Industry” at the 91st annual meeting of the American Society of Meteorologists in Seattle, Washington, USA.