Tracking and Analyzing the Short-Run Impact of COVID-19 on the U.S. Electricity Sector

by   Guangchun Ruan, et al.

The novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19) has rapidly spread around the globe in 2020, with the U.S. becoming the epicenter of COVID-19 cases and deaths in late March. In this context, there have been federal and state-level policy interventions aiming at mitigating the public health risks of this pandemic. These social distancing and work-from-home policies, which vary widely across states, have impacted the electricity sector, and economic productivity in general. As the U.S. begins to gradually resume some economic and social activities, it is imperative for policy makers and electric power operators to take a data-driven scientific approach to understanding and predicting the change of electricity consumption in the shorter and longer term. In this paper, we release a first-of-its-kind open access data hub, namely the Coronavirus Disease-Electricity Market Data Aggregation (COVID-EMDA), to track the impact of the COVID-19 epidemic on electricity markets in the U.S. This ready-to-use data hub integrates generation, load and pricing data across all existing U.S. markets with COVID-19 case data, weather data, cellular phone location data and satellite imaging data into a compact format, and is updated daily to capture the evolving dynamics. Additionally, we perform rigorous statistical analysis of this data to quantify the impact of COVID-19 on the electricity sector. Our analysis suggests a strong correlation between the rise in the number of COVID-19 cases and a reduction in the total load, especially in the Northeast and Coastal regions of the U.S., which contains the majority of the U.S.COVID-19 case load. We also uncover significant spatial variations in the impact of COVID-19 on regional electricity markets, which may be indicative of differing social distancing policies and case loads.


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