Energy Demand on Quarantine Days - Gökberk Bilgin

As the spread of Coronavirus continues in Turkey, the government warns people to stay at their homes in isolation. Almost every business keeps its operations by working from home, and today schools and universities began remote education.

While we are trying to adopt a new lifestyle, we change our energy consumption patterns. The main decline is in transportation usage. According to TomTom Live Traffic Index, the traffic congestion declined significantly.

According to data, the most significant declines in traffic congestion happened in İstanbul. Last weekend, it was down to 6%, which meant a 90% decline. While in the weekdays the smallest drop was in Ankara, the previous weekend the least reduction in traffic congestion happened in İzmir.

With the oil price war and the coronavirus, we faced increasing supply and decreasing demand for oil and petroleum products. In Turkey, the price of gasoline declined by 25% in one month.

Another significant indicator of understanding energy consumption patterns in the quarantine days is electricity usage. According to TEİAŞ (Turkish Electricity Transmission Company), yesterday, the electricity consumption was 755,600-megawatt-hours. Since it was Sunday, I compared with three weeks ago. On March 1, 2020, electricity consumption was 704,880-megawatt-hours. The change indicates that there was a 7,1% increase in weekend consumption.

When we look at the weekdays, we see that last week, on March 18, 2020, Turkey consumed 845,455-megawatt-hours, which is fewer 871,769-megawatt-hours on January 14, 2020. Since the weather conditions on two dates were surprisingly similar, I took these data to the comparison. As a result, electricity consumption declined by 5%. During these days, around 55% of the electricity production came from renewable energy. However, to understand the real impact on electricity consumption, we have to wait for quarantine to end. Only after that, we will have reliable data to compare.

In terms of air quality, we see improvements in all of the major cities. According to air quality indexes, all parts of Turkey categorized under good and medium air quality standards since the quarantine began. Last month the major industrial zones and city centers were considered as sensitive and unhealthy mostly.

When I look at the rest of the world, I see similar patterns. According to FT, almost every country in Europe has a 10-15% decline in energy consumption.

In China, where the new Coronavirus cases stopped to develop, we see a minor increase in energy consumption and traffic congestion, yet the numbers are still far away from usual.

As a global pandemic, the coronavirus’s impacts will be seen in future years. Working from home and remote education options are severely being tested, and it might change our understanding of doing some of the businesses. However, the factories that had to shut down their operations due to pandemic may generate further adverse effects for our economies. We will see how it goes. Until then, please stay at home.

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