Maximilian Auffhammer and Anin Aroonruengsawat “Simulating the Impacts of Climate Change, Prices and Population on California’s Residential Electricity Consumption” (November 2011) (Revised June 2012) (Revised version published in Climate Change, 109(S1): June 2012) | WP-208R | Blog Post

This study simulates the impacts of higher temperatures resulting from anthropogenic climate change on residential electricity consumption for California. Flexible temperature response functions are estimated by climate zone, which allow for differential effects of days in different temperature bins on households’ electricity consumption. The estimation uses a comprehensive household level dataset of billing data for California’s three investor-owned utilities (Pacific Gas and Electric, San Diego Gas and Electric, and Southern California Edison). The results suggest that the temperature response varies greatly across climate zones. Simulation results using a downscaled version of three global circulation models suggest that holding population constant, total consumption for the households considered may increase by up to 1-6% by the end of the century. The study further simulates the impacts of higher electricity prices and different scenarios of population growth. Finally, simulations were conducted consistent with higher adoption of cooling equipment in areas which are not yet saturated, as well as gains in efficiency potentially due to aggressive energy efficiency policies.