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High-resolution temperature fields to evaluate the response of Italian electricity demand to meteorological variables: an example of climate service for the energy sector

Scapin, Simone, Apadula, Francesco, Brunetti, Michele, Maugeri, Maurizio
Theoretical and applied climatology 2016 v.125 no.3-4 pp. 729-742
climate, cooling, electricity, energy, heat, heat sums, models, regression analysis, solar radiation, summer, temperature, urban areas, urbanization, Italy
The dependence of Italian daily electricity demand on cooling degree-days, heating degree-days and solar radiation is investigated by means of a regression model applied to 12 consecutive 2-year intervals in the 1990–2013 period. The cooling and heating degree-days records used in the model are obtained by (i) estimating, by means of a network of 92 synoptic stations and high-resolution gridded temperature climatologies, a daily effective temperature record for all urbanised grid points of a high-resolution grid covering Italy; (ii) using these records to calculate corresponding grid point degree-days records; and (iii) averaging them to get national degree-days records representative of urban areas. The solar radiation record is obtained with the same averaging approach, with grid point solar radiation estimated from the corresponding daily temperature range. The model is based on deterministic components related to the weekly cyclical pattern of demand and to long-term demand changes and on weather-sensitive components related to cooling degree-days, heating degree-days and solar radiation. It establishes a strong contribution of cooling degree-days to the Italian electricity demand, with values peaking in summer months of the latest years up to 211 GWh day⁻¹ (i.e. about 23 % of the corresponding average Italian electricity demand). This contribution shows a strong positive trend in the period considered here: the coefficient of the cooling degree-days term in the regression models increases from the first 2-year period (1990–1991) to the last one (2012–2013) by a factor 3.5, which is much greater than the increase of the Italian total electricity demand.