How Climate Change Will Affect Energy Consumption in The Hamptons…And How Residents and Businesses Can Adapt
Climate change has already been reshaping how energy is produced. Across the globe, governments and corporations are pushing the development of clean renewable technologies. Fossil fuels are still heavily consumed, but environmental initiatives and market forces have led to record high coal plant closures — enough to reduce U.S. coal capacity by ⅓ since 2010.
That’s how climate change is affecting energy technology, but how will changing temperatures affect energy consumption here in The Hamptons?
Less Demand for Oil and Gas
As the climate changes, average global temperatures are expected to rise. Within the U.S., the EPA expects that “heating demand would decrease the most in the northern United States” as winters become milder.
In a warmer climate scenario, demand will decrease for the energy sources used to provide heating, such as gas, oil and wood.
Hotter Summers; More Electricity
While winters are expected to become milder, Hampton summers are expected to get hotter.
“Demand for electricity for cooling is expected to increase as a result of temperature increase and extreme heat events,” according to the EPA. “The balance in energy delivery is likely to shift from natural gas and fuel oil used for heating to electricity used for air conditioning.”
Unfortunately, the net effect is predicted to be negative for consumers — the increased cost of electricity use is expected to be higher than the savings from using less gas and oil.
Risk to Energy Infrastructure
The Northeast (and other coastal areas) face serious risks to their energy infrastructure as a result of climate change. These include rising sea levels, dangerous storm surge and more intense hurricanes. “For example, fuel ports and the generation and transmission lines that bring electricity to major urban coastal centers are at risk,” according to the EPA.
Energy systems don’t exist in isolation, so the Northeast also faces energy disruptions from distant severe weather. The US Global Change Research Program points out that “Hurricanes Katrina and Rita damaged more than 100 platforms and damaged 558 pipelines in 2005, impacting markets as far away as New York and New England.”
How Hamptons Residents Can Adapt and Save Money
As energy demand shifts toward electricity, homeowners can adjust by managing their thermostats more efficiently. The South Fork Peak Savers program was specifically created to reduce electricity demand on Long Island by incentivizing the adoption of smart thermostats and efficient commercial lighting.
If you have property in East Hampton or Southampton, you may be eligible for a free Nest thermostat or for rebates on existing smart thermostats. The Smart Thermostat Program offers customers incentives for enrolling in their conservation program, including a $25 cash bonus for every year of enrollment.
The program works by making minor, short-term adjustments to air conditioning via the smart thermostat during periods of peak demand. These adjustments are usually in the 1-3° range and have the effect of reducing strain on the electric system. Program members always maintain ultimate control over their thermostat settings.