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The role of temperature in the variability and extremes of electricity and gas demand in Great Britain

Thornton, H. E., Hoskins, B. J. and Scaife, A. A. (2016) The role of temperature in the variability and extremes of electricity and gas demand in Great Britain. Environmental Research Letters, 11 (11). 114015. ISSN 1748-9326

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To link to this item DOI: 10.1088/1748-9326/11/11/114015


The daily relationship of electricity and gas demand with temperature in Great Britain is analysed from 1975 to 2013 and 1996 to 2013 respectively. The annual mean and annual cycle amplitude of electricity demand exhibit low frequency variability. This low frequency variability is thought to be predominantly driven by socio-economic changes rather than temperature variation. Once this variability is removed, both daily electricity and gas demand have a strong anti-correlation with temperature (r elec = −0.90 , r gas = −0.94). However these correlations are inflated by the changing demand–temperature relationship during spring and autumn. Once the annual cycles of temperature and demand are removed, the correlations are ${r}_{{\rm{elec}}}=-0.60$ and ${r}_{{\rm{gas}}}=-0.83$. Winter then has the strongest demand–temperature relationship, during which a 1 °C reduction in daily temperature typically gives a ~1% increase in daily electricity demand and a 3%–4% increase in gas demand. Extreme demand periods are assessed using detrended daily temperature observations from 1772. The 1 in 20 year peak day electricity and gas demand estimates are, respectively, 15% (range 14%–16%) and 46% (range 44%–49%) above their average winter day demand during the last decade. The risk of demand exceeding recent extreme events, such as during the winter of 2009/2010, is also quantified.

Item Type:Article
Divisions:Science > School of Mathematical, Physical and Computational Sciences > Department of Meteorology
ID Code:68474
Publisher:Institute of Physics


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