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Electricity demand is back across Europe!

Eylert Ellefsen
Archived blog post. This blog post has been transferred from our previous blogging platform. Links and images may not work as intended.

According to our numbers, electricity consumption in Europe has recovered faster than expected in Continental Europe and the Nordic market during Q3 and Q4.

Energy Quantified (EQ) has monitored the trends in electricity demand during the pandemic, and this is our third blog post update, following previous updates 25 April and 8 September last year.

We have previously seen that consumption dived significantly in the March- April period last year, and then started to recover by midsummer. In September, EQ estimated that Europe-wide consumption would be about 3% below normal levels by the end of 2020 (ref. chart below, weekly resolution).

Recovery scenarios, as forecasted by Energy Quantified in April 2020.

Measures to contain the coronavirus continued to be restrictive throughout 2020 and into 2021, yet consumption has recovered more quickly in most countries than we anticipated back in September.

Here we are updating demand developments up until the end of January in two areas: The big five of Great Britain, Germany, France, Spain and Italy, and the Nordic region (Norway, Sweden, Denmark, Finland.)

We will focus on the 2020/2019 ratio to get a yearly overview, and Nov20-Jan21 period to get an impression of the current situation. Values for the Nordic region are temperature-weighted, but we use temperature-adjusted data for France only within the big five selection.

Key takeaways

  • Consumption recovery during Q3 and Q4 has been somewhat faster than expected both on the Continent and in the Nordics.
  • The average reduction level for 2020 compared to 2019 has been about 5% amongst the big five and  % in the Nordics.
  • Based on the latest 3-months period (Nov-Jan), we see a slightly declining consumption curve compared to 12 months earlier.
  • France and Finland both show a reduction of about 4% over the latest 3-month period compared to 12 months earlier.
  • The other countries, both on the Continent and the Nordics, show close to no change from 12 months earlier.

2019 vs 2020

Nordic and Continental monthly consumption for 2019 and 2020.

This chart shows the overall monthly consumption (TWh) for the two selected groups of countries in 2020 versus 2019.

As already noted, Nordic consumption has hardly been affected by Corona-related measures, while the consumption elsewhere slowed down noticeably following the introduction of Corona-measures from March onwards.

We also see that consumption recovered during H2-2020 and almost reached 2019 levels towards the end of the year (ref also charts blow).

Summary of findings

In the following table, we summarise our key findings in a bit more detail:

Key consumption numbers for "the big five countries" in Continental Europe.

From these numbers, we can see that the year-on-year drop in demand is in a range of 3 -7 percentage points. We see that French consumption is more suppressed for the November-January period than for the other countries that only show a moderate year-on-year reduction.

Key consumption numbers for the Nordic countries.

Amongst the Nordic countries, demand in Finland has been hardest hit, with a drop in consumptions close to the Continental average, with more industries facing temporary shutdowns.

Consumption reduction in percentage during 2020. Comparing the Nordic countries to the Continental countries.

Final words

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