Measuring electricity consumption at urban scale using VIIRS nighttime lights composite.

Authors: Pranab K. Roy Chowdhury*, University of Tennessee, Christa M. Brelsford, Oak Ridge National Laboratory, Budhendra L. Bhaduri, Oak Ridge National Laboratory
Topics: Remote Sensing, Energy, Urban Geography
Keywords: Electricity consumption, Energy, LandScan, VIIRS, Nighttime Lights, Cities, Sustainability
Session Type: Paper
Day: 4/12/2018
Start / End Time: 8:00 AM / 9:40 AM
Room: Lafayette, Marriott, River Tower Elevators, 41st Floor
Presentation File: No File Uploaded


Electricity use is an integral part of our daily lives. Electricity consumption influences energy resource use, greenhouse gas emissions, and future energy security. With continually increasing urbanization, electricity consumption and its associated social, economic, and environmental consequences are going to grow significantly. To understand secondary effects of electricity consumption, data at finer spatial resolution is needed. But such data is reported at state or national levels, information in urban areas and city levels remain scarce. Data availability is much more constrained in developing regions. In past, nighttime lights data from Defense Meteorological Satellite Program (DMSP) has been widely used by researchers to estimate electricity consumption and greenhouse gas emissions. But DMSP data suffered from a lack of spatial and radiometric detail, especially at high light levels, where its successor Visible Infrared Imaging Radiometer Suite (VIIRS) offers significant improvements. These enable a precise estimation of electricity consumption. However, nighttime lights cannot capture information on electricity usage from air conditioning or inside industrial or commercial establishments, which could lead to erroneous measurements especially at local scales. In this study, we have developed an electricity consumption dataset for the year 2015 for the contiguous United States by incorporating population, climatic degree days, and commercial establishment information. We spatially disaggregated the estimated values using the 2015 VIIRS annual composite. We also briefly discuss insights gathered from using this data in spatial analysis of electricity usage at cities and urban areas.

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