Keeping homes and offices cool in the future will drive a spike in global electricity demand equivalent to the European Union’s current entire electricity consumption.
China and the U.S. accounted for 54 percent of the 1,932 terawatt-hours of electricity used by residential and commercial air conditioning in 2018, according to research from Bloomberg. Saudi Arabia, India and Japan are the next-biggest users, rounding off a group that made up two-thirds of the demand for cooling.
By mid-century, the worldwide thirst for air conditioning will more than double to 4,764 terawatt-hours, accounting for more than 12 percent of total electricity demand, BNEF said.
The U.S. and China made up over half of electricity demand for air conditioning in 2018
Sales of air conditioners have boomed since the start of the decade, with 110 million units sold in 2017 from 85 million in 2010, BNEF said. Growing populations, rising income and falling unit prices will push growth especially in emerging economies such as Indonesia and Vietnam.
The International Energy Agency last year called the growing electricity demand from air conditioning “one of the most critical blind spots in today’s energy debate.” It will be the biggest source of demand growth after industry by 2050, having serious consequences for the climate unless energy efficient technologies are employed.―Bloomberg