Estimating the daily peak and annual total electricity demand for cooling in Vienna, Austria by 2050 (Journal Paper)

Publikation aus Life
Klimaneutrale Energiesysteme und Lebensstile

Bird D.N., de Wit R., Schwaiger H., Andre K., Beermann M., Žuvela-Aloise M.

Urban Climate Volume 28 , 6/2019


Climate change is expected to increase temperatures worldwide and exacerbate urban heat load due to the urban heat island effect. Urban populations will be more exposed to climate change impacts on human health and mortality as compared to citizens living in rural areas. To adapt, urban populations will increase the use of air conditioning and an increase in electricity consumption for cooling is forecast.

We use a top-down method, based on the hourly electricity consumption and daily temperatures for years 2015 and 2016 for 19 European countries, to estimate the future annual demand and daily peak demand for cooling in Vienna, Austria, until 2050. The estimation is based on an ensemble average of seven downscaled climate models under two climate scenarios (RCP4.5 and RCP8.5) and includes a factor for the increase in air conditioning penetration with climate change. The estimate of peak demand, inclusion of penetration and application to a locality make the study somewhat novel.

Our results suggest that annual electrical energy for cooling in Vienna will increase from the current amount of 22 GWh/year to 95 (33–189) GWh/year by 2050 – with little difference during this time frame between RCP4.5 and RCP8.5. During the same period, peak electrical energy demand will increase to around 117 (64–191) MWh/day in 2050 from its current value of 65.5 MWh/day.

Keywords: Air conditioning, Urban heat island, Climate change, Human comfort