Sensing global changes in local patterns of energy consumption in cities during the early stages of the COVID-19 pandemic

Francisco Rowe, Caitlin Robinson, Nikos Patias

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle (Academic Journal)peer-review

17 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

COVID-19, and the wider social and economic impacts that a global pandemic entails, led to unprecedented reductions in energy consumption globally. Whilst estimates of changes in energy consumption have emerged at the national scale, detailed sub-regional estimates to allow for global comparisons are less developed. Using night-time light satellite imagery from December 2019–June 2020 across 50 of the world's largest urban conurbations, we provide high resolution estimates (450 m2) of spatio-temporal changes in urban energy consumption in response to COVID-19. Contextualising this imagery with modelling based on indicators of mobility, stringency of government response, and COVID-19 rates, we provide novel insights into the potential drivers of changes in urban energy consumption during a global pandemic. Our results highlight the diversity of changes in energy consumption between and within cities in response to COVID-19, moderating dominant narratives of a shift in energy demand away from dense urban areas. Further modelling highlights how the stringency of the government's response to COVID-19 is likely a defining factor in shaping resultant reductions in urban energy consumption.
Original languageEnglish
Article number103808
JournalCities
Volume129
Early online date16 Jun 2022
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 23 Jun 2022

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This study was supported by the UKRI Future Leaders Fellowship grant ( MR/V021672/1 ).

Publisher Copyright:
© 2022 Elsevier Ltd

Keywords

  • covid-19
  • energy consumption
  • mobility
  • night-time light satellite imagery
  • cities

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