The implications of the coronavirus crisis on the global energy sector and the environment
Demand for oil has reduced dramatically in recent weeks, due largely to severe coronavirus-related travel restrictions and the Saudi-Russia price war over oil. This has resulted in a marked reduction of greenhouse gas emissions (GHG). However, many are speculating that this is a temporary reduction that will rebound once the economy restarts following the pandemic. China’s emissions have dropped significantly following the country-wide lockdown, and advocates have indicated that this would be a windfall in countries catching up on sustainably reducing GHGs. Read the full story here.
How Will The Coronavirus Affect Energy Use In America?
As previously discussed, global oil usage has declined significantly due to travel restrictions and the subsequent devastation of the airline industry. Additionally, the average American commutes 45 minutes each day, 80% of which uses gasoline. A potential three-month isolation period could reduce oil, gas, and jet fuel usage by 15 quadrillion British thermal units (BTU). In contrast, other energy usage is on the rise, like the electricity usage associated with streaming content. To get a full picture of how the energy landscape is changing as a result of COVID-19, read the full story here.
Electricity Demand In The Time Of COVID-19
Electric utilities are seeing a small uptick in residential electricity demand, but an overall reduction across the grid, especially in densely populated areas that have been severely impacted, like New York City and New England. The country’s biggest grid, PJM, which covers these areas, has seen an average decline in demand of 4% and a price reduction of 8%. However, large electric utilities do not appear to be as concerned with their economic forecast as many much more severely impacted industries. Several utilities have shown they are still able to tap into the bond market for low-cost financing. Further, as temperatures heat up, it is likely that energy demand in residences will increase significantly. Read the full story here.
Does online video streaming harm the environment?
While self-isolation and quarantining has resulted in a large reduction of transit, it’s also caused an uptick in our demand for streaming services. We’ve seen the statistics on the energy usage in data centers, but how much do our favorite shows impact that number? One report endeavored to find out the impact of our streaming habits and found the energy consumed by everyone who watched the third season of the hit show Stranger Things was the equivalent of driving more than 420 million miles and emitting over 189 million kg of CO2. There will always be ebbs and flows of where are energy consumption is coming from, which is why it’s so important for us to find clean, sustainable sources to make up the bulk of this demand. Read the full report here.