Contributions of weather and fuel mix to recent declines in U.S. energy and carbon intensity
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Contributions of weather and fuel mix to recent declines in U.S. energy and carbon intensity

  • Author(s): Davis, W. Bart
  • Sanstad, Alan H.
  • Koomey, Jonathan G.
  • et al.
Abstract

A recent (1996-2000) acceleration of declines in energy and carbon intensity in the U.S. remains largely unexplained. This study uses Divisia decomposition and regression to test two candidate explanations - fuel mix and weather. The Divisia method demonstrates that fuel mix does not explain the declines in carbon intensity. The fuel mix, both overall and for electricity generation, became slightly more carbon intensive over the study period (though the slight trend reversed before the end of the period). A regression-based correction to the Divisia indices, accounting for variation in heating- and cooling-degree-days, indicates that warmer weather accounts for about 30 percent of the total declines. This leaves declines of more than 2 percent per year (and an acceleration of more than 1 percent over previous decade) remaining to be explained.

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