ENERGY DEMAND RESPONSES TO TEMPERATURE AND IMPLICATIONS OF CLIMATIC CHANGE
Amato, Anthony Dominic
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Climate is a major determinant of energy demand as well as the structure of the built environment. Climate change may alter energy demand and energy demand patterns. In this dissertation, I investigate the implications of climate change for energy demand by asking if energy demand sensitivities to temperature are place-specific, and if energy demand sensitivities to temperature reflect energy users' adaptations to prevailing climate? To answer these questions, energy demands for electricity, natural gas, and heating oil in seventeen states along the eastern seaboard of the United States are quantitatively analyzed. The states are on a north-south orientation to maximize inter-state climatic differences and presumably the degree of adaptation by energy users to climate. Unique to this dissertation is the use of an impact-adaptation assessment framework to project energy demand responses to climate change scenarios. The net impacts on energy demand are related to both the system's sensitivity and adaptive capacity to changes in climate stimuli. In this study, a temporal analysis is developed and used to quantify the historic sensitivities of energy demands to climatic variability while controlling for energy prices, daylight hours, and other socioeconomic factors. Based on the findings of the temporal analysis, the geographic analysis explores adaptation to current climate and provides for an estimate of the adaptive capacity of energy demand to climatic change. The final step of the assessment projects energy demand responses to climate change scenarios based on the temporal analysis findings as well as on a synthesis of the temporal and geographic analyses findings. The principle findings of this dissertation are (1) that energy demand sensitivities to temperature vary by region, (2) that part of this variation is attributable to adaptations to regional climate conditions, and (3) that projections of energy demand responses to climate change should account for adaptations to changing climate characteristics. In this dissertation, I develop methodological frameworks to assess the sensitivity and adaptive capacity of energy demand, present findings, discuss their implications, propose general recommendations for improving the practice of modeling climate change impacts on energy demand, and offer suggestions for future research.