Blog Post

Covid-19 crisis: electricity demand as a real-time indicator

Comparing average weekday hourly electricity demand for the last few weeks to the year before, we visualise the moment when the current crisis began to have an impact on national economies and how large that impact was.

By: and Date: March 25, 2020 Topic: Energy & Climate

Last updated: 09/04/2020

Data on the real time economic effects of the covid-19 crisis are hard to come by. However, much economic activity is heavily dependent on the use of electricity. Information on the demand for electricity over time can therefore offer some insight into the real time effects of the covid-19 crisis and associated lockdowns.  

In a previous blog post, we offered some analysis on the electricity consumption of four countries (ES,DE,FR,IT). We now extend this analysis to provide a more holistic view of what is occurring across the whole of Europe. All data presented in this blog will be updated daily as new information emerges. 

In the map below we visualise the evolution of peak hour electricity consumption across Europe over the past four weeks. 

We focus our analysis on peak hour consumption (08:00 – 18:00) because this is when most economic activity would normally take place. We consider only working days, ignoring weekends. Each week from 2020 is compared with the corresponding week from 2019. For example, week 1 is 2nd – 6th March 2020 and this maps to 4th – 8th March 2019 and so forth. Week 2 begins 9th March, week 3 begins 16th March and week 4 begins 23rd March. 

To compute the percentage we divide the average actual total load (electricity consumption) from 08:00-18:00 across a five-day working week by the corresponding week’s value from 2019. 

We compute daily averages in the same way. Each day from 2020 is divided by the value from the corresponding day from 2019 according to the same methodology as that used for the map. The figure below shows the daily evolution of electricity demand for France, Germany, Italy, Poland, Spain and the UK. 

*In both figures since the 18th March 2020 forecasted data on France are used as the actual consumption data have not yet been uploaded to entso-e. 

Additional updates 

As well as daily updates, we will also improve the robustness of presented data. Currently the visualisations simply compare average consumption values. There are other underlying factors that influence demand beyond covid-19. Temperature is perhaps the most important. In particular countries, a significant share of space and water heating is electric and one would expect significant fluctuations depending on daily temperatures. We will therefore update the data by including a measure to account for temperature differentials between 2020 and 2019 values. Other exogenous factors, such as national holidays, if occurring on different days between 2019 and 2020, would also influence results. We will control for this in a future update. 

With a more robust methodology, we will begin to add additional countries to the represented figures. 

 


Republishing and referencing

Bruegel considers itself a public good and takes no institutional standpoint. Anyone is free to republish and/or quote this post without prior consent. Please provide a full reference, clearly stating Bruegel and the relevant author as the source, and include a prominent hyperlink to the original post.

Read article Download PDF More by this author
 

External Publication

European Parliament

Promoting product longevity

How can the EU product safety and compliance framework help promote product durability and tackle planned obsolescence, foster the production of more sustainable products, and achieve more transparent supply chains for consumers? Product longevity can play a useful role in achieving the Paris Agreement goals – material efficiency is an important contributor to energy efficiency and is also important in its own right. The product safety and compliance instruments available at European level can contribute to these efforts, if wisely applied.

By: J. Scott Marcus Topic: Energy & Climate, European Macroeconomics & Governance, European Parliament Date: April 9, 2020
Read article More on this topic More by this author
 

Blog Post

A green recovery

Government policy faces various challenges. Before the COVID-19 outbreak, the European Union set ambitious targets to reduce carbon emissions. Now in the midst of the pandemic, the EU has temporarily lifted state-aid rules allowing governments to steer companies through the crisis and to minimise job losses using public money. This column suggests combining these policies by attaching green conditions to state aid. In that way, we can aim for a green recovery.

By: Dirk Schoenmaker Topic: Energy & Climate Date: April 6, 2020
Read article Download PDF More on this topic
 

External Publication

The effect of digitalization in the energy consumption of passenger transport: An analysis of future scenarios for Europe

The paper evaluates the effects on energy consumption of digitalization in transport. Digitalization needs a tailored policy support to avoid higher energy consumption.

By: Simone Tagliapietra and Michel Noussan Topic: Energy & Climate Date: March 16, 2020
Read about event More on this topic
 

Past Event

Past Event

On gains, losses, and trade-offs: the case of Border Carbon Adjustment

How will the border carbon adjustment be implemented and what will be the implications?

Speakers: Gabriel Felbermayr, André Sapir and Georg Zachmann Topic: Energy & Climate Location: Bruegel, Rue de la Charité 33, 1210 Brussels Date: March 5, 2020
Read article Download PDF
 

Policy Contribution

A European carbon border tax: much pain, little gain

The European Commission should not make the implementation of a carbon border adjustment mechanism into a must-have element of its climate policy. There is little in the way of strong empirical evidence that would justify a carbon-adjustment measure. Moreover, significant logistical, legal and political challenges will arise during the design. The EU should instead focus upon the implementation of measures to trigger the development of a competitive low-carbon industry in Europe.

By: Ben McWilliams and Georg Zachmann Topic: Energy & Climate, European Macroeconomics & Governance Date: March 5, 2020
Read article More on this topic More by this author
 

Blog Post

The European Green Deal must cut hidden fossil fuel subsidies

Brussels should ensure that fossil fuels do not get direct or indirect support from governments

By: Simone Tagliapietra Topic: Energy & Climate Date: March 4, 2020
Read article More on this topic More by this author
 

Opinion

Eastern Mediterranean Gas: What Prospects for the New Decade?

The last decade has seen the eastern Mediterranean region become a hotspot of the global natural gas industry, attracting increasing attention from multiple stakeholders also as a result of its high geopolitical stakes. Notwithstanding this momentum, progress has been bumpy.

By: Simone Tagliapietra Topic: Energy & Climate Date: February 25, 2020
Read article More on this topic More by this author
 

Podcast

Podcast

Can the European Green Deal kill the single market?

The European Green Deal is one of the landmarks of Ursula von der Leyen's Commission. But, without an ambitious investment behind it, what could be its potential implications for the EU? Could it go as far as to threaten the EU's single market? This week, Renew Europe's vice-president, MEP Luis Garicano, joins Guntram Wolff and Maria Demertzis to discuss not only the European Green Deal but also the EU Budget and the Banking Union. Disclaimer: this episode was recorded on the 20th of February, before Bruegel hosted the event "The Ressurection of the European Banking Union".

By: The Sound of Economics Topic: Energy & Climate Date: February 25, 2020
Read article More on this topic
 

Opinion

Europe’s Green Deal must reach beyond its borders

A European Climate and Sustainable Development Bank could become the external investment arm of the European Green Deal.

By: Simone Tagliapietra and Georg Zachmann Topic: Energy & Climate Date: February 4, 2020
Read article More by this author
 

Blog Post

Climate risks to European banks: a new era of stress tests

Several European central banks have begun assessing the impact of adverse climate scenarios on banks’ capital. Comparable work at EU or euro area level has evolved more slowly. Supervisors need build up a distinct and more complex type of analysis, and should engage with banks now.

By: Alexander Lehmann Topic: Energy & Climate, Finance & Financial Regulation Date: February 4, 2020
Read article More on this topic
 

Opinion

Berlin will make or break the European Green Deal

€1 trillion isn't enough for the European Green Deal and the EU's fiscal framework is constraining public investment. "Mrs Merkel, tear down this rule".

By: Grégory Claeys and Simone Tagliapietra Topic: Energy & Climate Date: February 3, 2020
Read article More on this topic More by this author
 

Podcast

Podcast

Paying for the European Green Deal

The European Commission has presented its Just Transition Fund to help regions still dependent on fossil fuel as they move towards green energy. But where does the money come from and is it enough to make Europe carbon neutral by 2050? Should the EU re-write its fiscal rules to encourage sustainable investment? And should environmentalists be optimistic? Nicholas Barrett asked Simone Tagliapietra and Grégory Claeys.

By: The Sound of Economics Topic: Energy & Climate Date: January 16, 2020
Load more posts