Residential energy demand in a changing climate: Portuguese case study 2050

16:15 Tuesday 28 May


Room S13


Raquel Figueiredo (Portugal) 1; Pedro Nunes (Portugal) 1; Marta Oliveira Panão (Portugal) 1; Miguel C. Brito (Portugal) 1

1 - Instituto Dom Luiz (IDL), Faculdade de Ciências, Universidade de Lisboa, 1749-016 Lisboa, Portugal

Electricity demand is undergoing structural changes as the shift towards electrification of all society and its economic sectors takes place. The residential buildings, which represent 30% of the European Union electricity demand, are no exception, moreover because their electricity demand might be strongly aggravated by additional needs for cooling and heating due to climate change.

The purpose of this work is to project the electricity demand in Portugal in 2050 within the residential sector. A Monte-Carlo approach is used to characterize the housing stock, the occupants’ habits and the existing electrical appliances to estimate the hourly residential demand profiles for each of the NUTSIII regions. The housing stock of the future is assumed to be based on the characteristics of the current one upgraded in some parameters to reflect retrofitted and new buildings, e.g. adding thermal insulation to the current external envelope or improving windows U-value. Three scenarios are presented for different change paths (e.g. area of new households, different levels of electrification, etc.): a central demand scenario according to common assumptions present in the literature; and a low and a high demand scenario defined around the previous one. To understand the increasing need for air conditioning, future climate data are needed, which were obtained from two IPCC’s Representative Concentration Scenarios (RCPs): RCP4.5 and RCP8.5. For each, several climate models for the period 2045-2055 were analyzed.

It was found that the changes in the overall residential electricity demand depend strongly on the path taken: it may decrease up to 8% or increase up to 34%. Cooling needs can grow up to 240% while heating needs feature a wide range of changes, from decreasing 25% to increase 42%. At the regional level, results show even stronger variation. In the high demand scenario, cooling needs may increase up to 600% in some regions (Pinhal Litoral), while in others the heating demand can suffer an increase up to 629% (Pinhal Interior Sul). As for the low demand scenario, heating can decrease by up to 60% (Grande Lisboa) and cooling by up to 42% (Beira Interior Norte).

It is concluded that changes in temperature are expected to have a significant impact on the electricity demand in the residential sector. However, future development of the thermal parameters of the building stock is also critical for the evolution of residential demand.