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COVID's Immediate and Longer Term Impacts on Grid

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Henry Craver's picture
Small Business Owner Self-employed

As a small business owner, I'm always trying to find ways to cut costs and boost the dependability of my services. To that end, I've become increasingly invested in learning about energy saving...

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  • Mar 23, 2020
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So far, most of the mainstream media’s electricity coverage in the age of Corona has related to the decision of utilities and state governments to freeze disconnects, late fees, etc. It’s just one of many efforts the nation’s decision makers have put forth to cushion the virus’ economic blow. But how will utilities, and their grids specifically,  themselves be affected by the developing crisis? 

As the world’s economic motor grinds to an excruciating hault, it should be expected that energy demand will dip. Many people are working from home—if they’re lucky to be working at all, the service industry is closing up shop, and big concerts, festivals, conferences, and sporting events have been postponed indefinitely. Countries where the pandemic is more advanced give us an idea of what we can expect to see here with electricity demand. Italy, for example, saw demand drop 7.4% last Wednesday compared to the week prior. 

As a whole, the U.S. has not yet issued the same kind of measures as Italy, but it seems we’re headed in that direction. As I’m writing this, news is breaking that New Jersey, Connecticut and Illinois will follow California and New York in telling residents to stay home. I’m sure they won’t be the only states to do so this week. 

Beyond the immediate drop in power demand, I’m wondering what sort of effect the seemingly inevitable recession will have on the industry. As it’s been noted before on Energy Central, utility groups across the country have put forth significant grid infrastructure projects to prepare for the further adoption of renewables. One example that comes to mind is CapX2050. However, with state budgets strained, will there be money for these upgrades? Possibly they’ll be at the middle of a federal stimulus plan. It’s too early to tell.


 

 

 

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