Fortnightly Electricity Report as of July 7

Through the seventh of July, here’s how electric sales and the grid are doing in this strange time of pandemic social distancing.

From the first of April through the seventh of July, a period of fourteen grueling weeks of masks, handwashing and keeping apart, continental U.S. electric sales were down 3.7 percent year-over-year. That’s significant of course. Though it’s not as catastrophic as when we were looking at the first few weeks of our national hibernation.

Coal plants produced 17.4 percent of the grid’s generation and zero-emission sources produced 41.9 percent. As a result, carbon dioxide emissions were off by 13.7 percent from the comparable period in 2019. And carbon intensity fell to three-quarters of a pound of carbon dioxide per kilowatt-hour.

More recently, over the last two weeks, June 24 through July 7, electric sales were down just 2.9 percent year-over-year. And over the two prior weeks, June 10 through June 23, electric sales were down merely 0.1 percent.

Clearly, electric sales and the grid are now tracking more closely with the pre-pandemic period. However, the numbers of the last two weeks might reflect the return to no restaurants, gyms and nail salons in some of the states.