Recessions always cause a decline in energy use. The question really lies in the extent.
With less money flowing around, less gets done. Consumers also don’t have as much money in their pockets and save where they can.
And so, you end up with lower electricity use.
You’ve probably noticed either yourself, or perhaps one of your family members, having greater concern over how much electricity you use.
According to data from the US Energy Information Administration, overall US energy consumption fell by 14% in April 2020 (when compared to April 2019).
That was the single largest year-over-year drop since the EIA has been tracking energy use, which began in 1973!
While the net energy use fell, some areas saw increases. For example, natural gas use increased by 15% in April 2020 when compared to April 2019. And, as you might guess, this was most likely due to more people forced to stay at home.
However, April 2020 was also 24% colder than April 2019, according to the EIA. So, the increase in energy use there may not have been mostly due to people working from home.
US coal consumption decreased by 27% in April 2020 when compared to April 2019. Coal is by far the least efficient, most hazardous, and highest-polluting energy source we have in the US.
So, the sooner it goes by the wayside, the better!
And for now, we’re on a good track.
Did you feel yourself use 4% less electricity in April of this year (compared to April 2019)?
But that’s what happened for the average US consumer.
Finally, the US EIA predicts that, while your energy use will steadily increase through the end of 2020, you will still use less energy than you did in 2019.
So, at a time when you likely need more money, you’re at least putting a little more in your pocket.
The additional good news is that renewable energy use will increase as demand for energy increases here through the end of 2020 and during 2021.
Fossil fuel plants cost more than solar and wind plants to operate. And because overall energy use is lower than normal, electric companies will want to use the most efficient energy sources to maximize their own profit margins, says Deloitte.
So, on the whole, not such bad news for the energy industry, and you, the consumer.
Let’s hope this industry, and your own life, continue to stay on track in 2021.