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Explaining shifts in UK electricity demand using time use data from 1974 to 2014

Anderson, B. and Torriti, J. ORCID: (2018) Explaining shifts in UK electricity demand using time use data from 1974 to 2014. Energy Policy, 123. pp. 544-557. ISSN 0301-4215

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To link to this item DOI: 10.1016/j.enpol.2018.09.025


Peaks in electricity demand generate significant negative environmental and economic impacts. As a result recent policy and research attention has focused on the potential for temporal flexibility of demand, especially in the context of intermittent low-carbon generation. Much of this work emphasises the need to understand what makes up the peak and to engineer socio-technical solutions to meet this 'normal' consumption. However today's patterns of temporal consumption may only be a snapshot of continuing change. This paper uses UK household time-use survey data to analyse change in temporal patterns of activities over the last 40 years to shed light on apparent temporal shifts in overall UK electricity demand. The results highlight long term gradual evolution in when and where people work, travel, eat, use media and carry out social activities. In particular they suggest that changing patterns of labour market participation may be contributing to shifts in food related, personal/home care and media activities. The former in particular are correlated with shifts in electricity demand. We conclude that both stable and dynamic social structures and forms of organisation have direct implications for policy debates around current and future flexible demand-side solutions.

Item Type:Article
Divisions:Interdisciplinary centres and themes > Energy Research
Science > School of the Built Environment > Energy and Environmental Engineering group
ID Code:79507
Uncontrolled Keywords:Energy demand; peak demand; time use


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