Projecting the urban energy demand for Indiana, USA, in 2050 and 2080


Energy use is one of the largest drivers of climate change, but the large share of energy used for space heating and cooling is also driven by climate change. Demand for energy, particularly cooling, is important for long-range infrastructure planning. Urban areas represent a very small proportion of total land, but usually consume the majority of energy. In this work, statistical, top-down approaches are used to model residential and commercial urban energy demand changes in Indiana, a state in the Midwest region of the USA, in 2050 and 2080 under the climate change scenarios of RCP 4.5 and 8.5. By modeling energy demand changes in urban areas in Indiana, we can project the majority of energy demand while placing it in a spatial perspective that is missing from the statewide estimates. Two time periods are used to give an intuitive time stamp and temporal perspective. Results indicate that Indiana’s northernmost cities are expected to show significantly increased residential cooling demand due to climate change by 2080. Indianapolis represents an increasing share of total urban commercial and residential energy use over the next 60 years. Transportation is expected to represent a larger share of energy use as heating demand declines under climate change scenarios.

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Thanks to Deger Saygin for assistance in focusing the heating calculations on residential and commercial use. We would like to acknowledge the funding from Canada NSERC grant to Chris Kennedy that supported the work of co-author Singh on developing methodology and code for estimation of HDD, CDD and energy consumption projection under climate change which has formed the foundation for part of this work. Thanks to Leigh Raymond for comments and revisions during the modeling process. Jinwoong Yoo helped with temperature data processing. Thanks to Bernard Engel for providing additional feedback during the review process. We also thank anonymous reviewers for insightful comments that significantly improved our cooling energy estimation.

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Correspondence to Shweta Singh.

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This article is part of a Special Issue on “The Indiana Climate Change Impacts Assessment” edited by Jeffrey Dukes, Melissa Widhalm, Daniel Vimont, and Linda Prokopy.

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Wachs, L., Singh, S. Projecting the urban energy demand for Indiana, USA, in 2050 and 2080. Climatic Change 163, 1949–1966 (2020).

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  • Urban
  • Energy
  • Climate change