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COVID-19 Pandemics: Energy, Economic, Environmental, Social, Policy and Health Impacts

A special issue of Energies (ISSN 1996-1073). This special issue belongs to the section "C: Energy Economics and Policy".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (28 February 2023) | Viewed by 58299

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Guest Editor
Department of Business Development and Technology, Aarhus University, Birk Centerpark 15, 7400 Herning, Denmark
Interests: business development; new technologies; electric vehicles; smart cities; automotive markets; energy supply chains; investments; renewable energy sources; alternative fuels; innovation
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Guest Editor
Department of Business Development and Technology (BTECH/AU Herning), Aarhus University, Engineering & Technology Research Group–EngTech, Center for Energy Technologies–CET, Birk Centerpark 15, 7400 Herning, Denmark
Interests: energy planning and resources optimization; wind resource assessment; exergy analysis; energy demand; electricity markets
Special Issues, Collections and Topics in MDPI journals

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

The World Health Organization declared COVID-19 a pandemic on March 11, 2020, causing huge impact on people’s lives, families and communities. The coronavirus pandemic has created an unprecedented global health and economic crisis. Apart from the toll of early deaths, economic activity has stalled and stock markets have tumbled; while a wide range of energy markets has been severy affected– including coal, gas and renewables. This crisis highlighted the critical value of the health care infrastructure and the electricity infrastructure. In view of the above, while governments and policy makers respond to these interlinked crises, they must not lose sight of a major challenge of our time: clean energy transitions. This Special Issue, therefore, seeks to throw light to the adverse effects of COVID-19 through enhanced scientific and multi-disciplinary knowledge. We therefore invite papers on innovative technical developments, reviews, case studies, short communications, analytical, as well as assessment, papers from different disciplines, which are relevant mainly to the Energy, Economic, and Environmental related impacts of COVID-19.

Dr. Evanthia Nanaki
Prof. George Xydis
Guest Editors

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Keywords

  • COVID-19
  • Health
  • Energy
  • Society
  • Policy
  • Renewable energy
  • Economy

Published Papers (13 papers)

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Editorial

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4 pages, 187 KiB  
Editorial
Energy Industry Transition Transformation in the Wake of COVID-19
by George Xydis and Evanthia Nanaki
Energies 2023, 16(21), 7455; https://doi.org/10.3390/en16217455 - 06 Nov 2023
Viewed by 758
Abstract
The COVID-19 pandemic has caused significant shifts in energy demand and generation patterns, going beyond geographical boundaries and demanding creative responses from the energy industry as a whole [...] Full article

Research

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12 pages, 1141 KiB  
Article
Towards Informed Policy Making: An Analysis of the Impact of COVID-19 on Electricity Purchases in South Africa
by Michael Jon Ritchie, Jacobus Wilhelm Burger, Dhasaren Naidoo and Marthinus Johannes Booysen
Energies 2022, 15(20), 7618; https://doi.org/10.3390/en15207618 - 15 Oct 2022
Cited by 3 | Viewed by 1256
Abstract
The COVID-19 pandemic created large disruptions in the energy industry as governments all around the world responded by enforcing lockdowns on 54% of the global population to slow down the spread of the virus. This impacts the energy consumption of the residential sector [...] Read more.
The COVID-19 pandemic created large disruptions in the energy industry as governments all around the world responded by enforcing lockdowns on 54% of the global population to slow down the spread of the virus. This impacts the energy consumption of the residential sector as policies prevented residents from leaving their homes and accelerated the transition towards remote work environments. The impact of lockdown on South Africa’s energy sector is unique to other countries due to its extreme inequalities across the affluence divide and ongoing blackouts that affect the entire country. A case study is performed in George, a region in South Africa with a distribution of wealth and energy inequality typical for South Africa. In this paper, the following questions are answered: (i) How has the lockdown period influenced the total energy consumption of a household? and (ii) To what extent has the lockdown affected energy consumption of households based on wealth and demographics? The results of this study showed that implementing the highest stage of lockdown resulted in wealthy communities increasing their overall energy consumption by 5 percentage points and poor communities by 2.5 percentage points. The findings of this study support the use of local data and insight for the unique difference in behavioural change across different communities for optimal decision making in future pandemics or natural disasters. Full article
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22 pages, 57559 KiB  
Article
A Data-Driven Clustering Analysis for the Impact of COVID-19 on the Electricity Consumption Pattern of Zhejiang Province, China
by Zhiang Zhang, Ali Cheshmehzangi and Saeid Pourroostaei Ardakani
Energies 2021, 14(23), 8187; https://doi.org/10.3390/en14238187 - 06 Dec 2021
Cited by 9 | Viewed by 1952
Abstract
The COVID-19 pandemic has impacted electricity consumption patterns and such an impact cannot be analyzed by simple data analytics. In China, specifically, city lock-down policies lasted for only a few weeks and the spread of COVID-19 was quickly under control. This has made [...] Read more.
The COVID-19 pandemic has impacted electricity consumption patterns and such an impact cannot be analyzed by simple data analytics. In China, specifically, city lock-down policies lasted for only a few weeks and the spread of COVID-19 was quickly under control. This has made it challenging to analyze the hidden impact of COVID-19 on electricity consumption. This paper targets the electricity consumption of a group of regions in China and proposes a new clustering-based method to quantitatively investigate the impact of COVID-19 on the industrial-driven electricity consumption pattern. This method performs K-means clustering on time-series electricity consumption data of multiple regions and uses quantitative metrics, including clustering evaluation metrics and dynamic time warping, to quantify the impact and pattern changes. The proposed method is applied to the two-year daily electricity consumption data of 87 regions of Zhejiang province, China, and quantitively confirms COVID-19 has changed the electricity consumption pattern of Zhejiang in both the short-term and long-term. The time evolution of the pattern change is also revealed by the method, so the impact start and end time can be inferred. Results also show the short-term impact of COVID-19 is similar across different regions, while the long-term impact is not. In some regions, the pandemic only caused a time-shift in electricity consumption; but in others, the electricity consumption pattern has been permanently changed. The data-driven analysis of this paper can be the first step to fully interpret the COVID-19 impact by considering economic and social parameters in future studies. Full article
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19 pages, 5597 KiB  
Article
COVID-19 Pandemic Effect on Energy Consumption in State Universities: Michoacan, Mexico Case Study
by Luis Bernardo López-Sosa, José Juan Alvarado-Flores, Teresita del Niño Jesús Marín-Aguilar, Juan Carlos Corral-Huacuz, Arturo Aguilera-Mandujano, Gerardo Manuel Rodríguez-Torres, Mario Morales-Máximo, María del Carmen Rodríguez-Magallón, Jorge Víctor Alcaraz-Vera, María Liliana Ávalos-Rodríguez, José Guadalupe Rutiaga-Quiñones, Nancy Eloísa Rodríguez-Olalde, Magaly del Carmen Flores-Armenta and Carlos A. García
Energies 2021, 14(22), 7642; https://doi.org/10.3390/en14227642 - 15 Nov 2021
Cited by 9 | Viewed by 2592
Abstract
The COVID-19 pandemic has generated multiple impacts. In particular, in the educational sector, the virtual class modality generated changes in the patterns of energy consumption at the institutional level; the identification of this consumption will allow us to reflect on new energy saving [...] Read more.
The COVID-19 pandemic has generated multiple impacts. In particular, in the educational sector, the virtual class modality generated changes in the patterns of energy consumption at the institutional level; the identification of this consumption will allow us to reflect on new energy saving and efficient use strategies. In this research, we present a case study of the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic on electricity consumption in 13 state universities in Michoacán, Mexico. Electric energy consumption has been evaluated before and during the presence of the COVID-19 between 2019 and 2020. The comparative analysis estimated the reduction in energy consumption and its economic and environmental impact. The results show a considerable decrease in electricity consumption, generating an average saving of 76.24 MWh/month, which translates into an annual emission reduction from 2019 to 2020 of approximately 497 TnCO2e, and in economic terms of $8,882.25 USD each month. In general, it was identified that consumption patterns in the use of machinery and computer equipment for administrative activities were drastically reduced. If education continues in virtual or hybrid modes, energy consumption schemes will continue to decline and institutions could move towards resilient, affordable, and sustainable models of energy production and consumption. Full article
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34 pages, 5082 KiB  
Article
Assessing the Risk in Urban Public Transport for Epidemiologic Factors
by Marcin Budzynski, Aneta Luczkiewicz and Jacek Szmaglinski
Energies 2021, 14(15), 4513; https://doi.org/10.3390/en14154513 - 26 Jul 2021
Cited by 7 | Viewed by 3891
Abstract
Pandemics have presented new challenges for public transport organisers and operators. New diseases (e.g., influenza H1N1, severe acute respiratory syndrome—SARS, as well as, more recently, SARS-CoV-2) increase the need for new protection measures to prevent epidemic outbreaks in public transport infrastructure. The authors’ [...] Read more.
Pandemics have presented new challenges for public transport organisers and operators. New diseases (e.g., influenza H1N1, severe acute respiratory syndrome—SARS, as well as, more recently, SARS-CoV-2) increase the need for new protection measures to prevent epidemic outbreaks in public transport infrastructure. The authors’ goal is to present a set of actions in the area of public transport that are adjusted to different levels of epidemic development. The goal goes back to the following question: how can the highest possible level of passenger safety be ensured and the losses suffered by urban public transport companies kept as low as possible? The sets of pro-active measures for selected epidemic scenarios presented in the article may offer support to local authorities and public transport operators. In the next steps, it is important to develop and implement tools for public transport management to ensure safety and tackle epidemic hazards. Full article
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18 pages, 700 KiB  
Article
Tourism in the Era of Covid-19 and Its Impact on the Environment
by Rafał Nagaj and Brigita Žuromskaitė
Energies 2021, 14(7), 2000; https://doi.org/10.3390/en14072000 - 05 Apr 2021
Cited by 41 | Viewed by 8634
Abstract
The Covid-19 pandemic has affected all areas of socio-economic life around the world. Its impact concerns not only the health system and the health of the population, but also the economy. Tourism is one of the sectors hardest hit by the restrictions imposed [...] Read more.
The Covid-19 pandemic has affected all areas of socio-economic life around the world. Its impact concerns not only the health system and the health of the population, but also the economy. Tourism is one of the sectors hardest hit by the restrictions imposed by governments in the wake of the pandemic. The pandemic has resulted in restrictions and limitations on movement and travel, covering both domestic and international tourism, which raises the question of have these restrictions imposed on tourist activities also caused an environmental impact? The aim of this article is to examine what impact the COVID-19 pandemic has had on the environmental issues within the tourism sector in the Central and Eastern European (CEE) region. The research task is to investigate whether this impact has changed in the pandemic era compared to previous years, and whether it has been positive or negative. The research method is multiple regression analysis. The results of the study indicated that the COVID-19 pandemic caused a decrease in greenhouse gas emissions from tourism in all CEE countries. Such decreases are both relative to 2019 and the estimated level of emissions that would be achieved if the countries surveyed achieved economic growth in 2020 consistent with the European Commission’s projections for that year. The scale of the impact varies from country to country, while the relationship between tourism development and pollution levels is positive. Full article
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11 pages, 4379 KiB  
Article
Refrigeration of COVID-19 Vaccines: Ideal Storage Characteristics, Energy Efficiency and Environmental Impacts of Various Vaccine Options
by Alexandre F. Santos, Pedro D. Gaspar and Heraldo J. L. de Souza
Energies 2021, 14(7), 1849; https://doi.org/10.3390/en14071849 - 26 Mar 2021
Cited by 39 | Viewed by 6510
Abstract
This article considers the ideal storage conditions for multiple vaccine brands, such as Pfizer, Moderna, CoronaVac, Oxford–AstraZeneca, Janssen COVID-19 and Sputnik V. Refrigerant fluid options for each storage condition, thermal load to cool each type of vaccine and environmental impacts of refrigerants are [...] Read more.
This article considers the ideal storage conditions for multiple vaccine brands, such as Pfizer, Moderna, CoronaVac, Oxford–AstraZeneca, Janssen COVID-19 and Sputnik V. Refrigerant fluid options for each storage condition, thermal load to cool each type of vaccine and environmental impacts of refrigerants are compared. An energy simulation using the EUED (energy usage effectiveness design) index was developed. The Oxford–AstraZeneca, Janssen COVID-19 and CoronaVac vaccines show 9.34-times higher energy efficiency than Pfizer. In addition, a TEWI (total equivalent warming impact) simulation was developed that prioritizes direct environmental impacts and indirect in refrigeration. From this analysis, it is concluded that the cold storage of Oxford–AstraZeneca, Janssen COVID-19 and CoronaVac vaccines in Brazil generates 35-times less environmental impact than the Pfizer vaccine. Full article
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17 pages, 4332 KiB  
Article
Covid-19’s Impact on European Power Sectors: An Econometric Analysis
by Philipp Hauser, David Schönheit, Hendrik Scharf, Carl-Philipp Anke and Dominik Möst
Energies 2021, 14(6), 1639; https://doi.org/10.3390/en14061639 - 15 Mar 2021
Cited by 16 | Viewed by 3839
Abstract
Covid-19 affects the personal lives of millions and led to an economic crisis. Changed behavioral patterns and a reduction of industrial activity result in a reduction in power demand, and thus Covid-19 impacts the power systems around the world. Bottom-up mapping of the [...] Read more.
Covid-19 affects the personal lives of millions and led to an economic crisis. Changed behavioral patterns and a reduction of industrial activity result in a reduction in power demand, and thus Covid-19 impacts the power systems around the world. Bottom-up mapping of the effect of Covid-19 on the energy demand is challenging, if not impossible. In order to analyze the impact of the pandemic on power demand, we instead propose a simplified approach based on an econometric analysis that quantifies the country-wide load reduction of Covid-19, using the number of active cases as well as the specific lockdown period as proxies. The time span covered is from 1 January 2016 to 31 August 2020. This long time span allows us to investigate the effect of Covid-19 on the power demand. We find that in Germany (DE) and Great Britain (GB) the power demand is reduced by about 1–1.7 MW per case, while in France the demand increased by 1 MW per case during times outside of the lockdown. On the other hand, in France the lockdown itself has a much higher load reduction effect in France than in GB and DE. Based on the elasticity of power demand regarding Covid-19 cases, we calculate the impact of Covid-19 on the power prices through reduced loads. We find that Covid-19 reduced power prices by 3 to 6 EUR per MWh. The effect of Covid-19 on carbon emissions in the power sector is likely to be small. In Germany, the country with the highest absolute level, emissions in the power sector were reduced by approximately 2% (4 Mio. t CO2). Full article
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14 pages, 493 KiB  
Article
Effects of the COVID-19 Pandemic on Energy Systems and Electric Power Grids—A Review of the Challenges Ahead
by Aviad Navon, Ram Machlev, David Carmon, Abiodun Emmanuel Onile, Juri Belikov and Yoash Levron
Energies 2021, 14(4), 1056; https://doi.org/10.3390/en14041056 - 17 Feb 2021
Cited by 74 | Viewed by 5216
Abstract
The COVID-19 pandemic represents not just a global health crisis, but may signal the beginning of a new era of economic activity, the potential consequences of which we currently do not fully understand. In this context, the mid-to-long-range impacts of the pandemic on [...] Read more.
The COVID-19 pandemic represents not just a global health crisis, but may signal the beginning of a new era of economic activity, the potential consequences of which we currently do not fully understand. In this context, the mid-to-long-range impacts of the pandemic on the energy sector have been studied extensively in the last few months. Despite these efforts, the pandemic still raises many open questions concerning the long-term operation and planning of power systems. For instance, how will the pandemic affect the integration of renewable energy sources? Should current power system expansion plans change in light of the COVID-19 pandemic? What new tools should be provided to support system operators during global health crises? It is the purpose of this paper to better understand the many aspects of these open questions by reviewing the relevant recent literature and by analyzing measured data. We point out the main challenges that the pandemic introduced by presenting patterns of electricity generation and demand, frequency deviations, and load forecasting. Moreover, we suggest directions for future research that may assist in coping with the mentioned challenges. We hope that this paper will trigger fruitful discussions and encourage further research on these important emerging topics. Full article
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32 pages, 8580 KiB  
Article
Impact of the Lockdown during the COVID-19 Pandemic on Electricity Use by Residential Users
by Sławomir Bielecki, Tadeusz Skoczkowski, Lidia Sobczak, Janusz Buchoski, Łukasz Maciąg and Piotr Dukat
Energies 2021, 14(4), 980; https://doi.org/10.3390/en14040980 - 12 Feb 2021
Cited by 62 | Viewed by 4833
Abstract
The COVID-19 pandemic and the associated lockdown can be regarded as a forced social experiment, the results of which show how to use energy under specific conditions. During this period, there was a reduction in electricity consumption at the level of the power [...] Read more.
The COVID-19 pandemic and the associated lockdown can be regarded as a forced social experiment, the results of which show how to use energy under specific conditions. During this period, there was a reduction in electricity consumption at the level of the power system, but a different specificity distinguishes the group of household users. The article aims at presenting and analysing the identified issues concerning residential electricity users based on the experience from the COVID-19 pandemic lockdown. Data from energy meters from almost 7000 flats in Warsaw’s housing estates during the lockdown in 2020 and the analogous period before the pandemic were used. The analysis showed that, on average, residential users staying practically the whole day in their flats increased their energy consumption, but without increasing their average daily peak power, smoothing the profile in the morning hours to the level reaching the peak power that had occurred in the analogous period before the lockdown. The peak power of the sections feeding the different numbers of dwellings also remained practically unchanged during the lockdown compared to the pre-pandemic period. The pressure to work and educate remotely should contribute to an increase in the digital competence of society, which may result in an increased interest in new forms of activity and cooperation based on demand-side response and prosumption mechanisms, with digital settlements for energy exchange and services. Full article
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24 pages, 6264 KiB  
Article
Building Energy Performance Analysis after Changing Its Form of Use from an Office to a Residential Building
by Przemysław Markiewicz-Zahorski, Joanna Rucińska, Małgorzata Fedorczak-Cisak and Michał Zielina
Energies 2021, 14(3), 564; https://doi.org/10.3390/en14030564 - 22 Jan 2021
Cited by 6 | Viewed by 2191
Abstract
Lowering energy consumption is one of the most important challenges of the modern world. Since the construction sector accounts for 40% of total energy consumption worldwide, the Parliament of the European Union has developed a Directive, according to which all newly designed and [...] Read more.
Lowering energy consumption is one of the most important challenges of the modern world. Since the construction sector accounts for 40% of total energy consumption worldwide, the Parliament of the European Union has developed a Directive, according to which all newly designed and thermally upgraded buildings should meet the requirements of almost zero energy demand (nZEBs) from 1 January 2021. At the same time, in Poland, but also in many other countries in the world, there is a growing oversupply of office space in large cities with a simultaneous increase in demand for apartments, which is caused, among other things, by the increase in the share of remote work and the COVID-19 pandemic. Consequently, this is forcing owners to change the use of buildings from office to residential. This article analyses the possibilities of changing the function of an office building to a multi-family residential building. For both functional solutions, a comparative energy analysis was carried out, taking into account different work schedules and the requirements for new buildings with zero energy demand. The analyses have shown that changing the form of use of an office building to a multi-family building without significant financial and technical costs is possible. On the other hand, the reverse change of the form of use is much more difficult and, in many cases, practically impossible. Due to the fact that many offices are now multinational corporations, this issue is global. Full article
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22 pages, 8241 KiB  
Article
The Immediate Impacts of COVID-19 on European Electricity Systems: A First Assessment and Lessons Learned
by Ettore Bompard, Carmelo Mosca, Pietro Colella, Georgios Antonopoulos, Gianluca Fulli, Marcelo Masera, Marta Poncela-Blanco and Silvia Vitiello
Energies 2021, 14(1), 96; https://doi.org/10.3390/en14010096 - 26 Dec 2020
Cited by 36 | Viewed by 3285
Abstract
The worldwide spread of the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020 forced most countries to intervene with policies and actions—including lockdowns, social-distancing and smart working measures—aimed at mitigating the health system and socio-economic disruption risks. The electricity sector was impacted as well, with performance largely [...] Read more.
The worldwide spread of the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020 forced most countries to intervene with policies and actions—including lockdowns, social-distancing and smart working measures—aimed at mitigating the health system and socio-economic disruption risks. The electricity sector was impacted as well, with performance largely reflecting the changes in the industrial and commercial sectors operations and in the social behavior patterns. The most immediate consequences concerned the power demand profiles, the generation mix composition and the electricity price trends. As a matter of fact, the electricity sectors experienced a foretaste of the future, with higher renewable energy penetration and concerns for security of supply. This paper presents a systemic approach toward assessing the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic on the power sector. This is aimed at supporting decision making—particularly for policy makers, regulators, and system operators—by quantifying shorter term effects and identifying longer term impacts of the pandemic waves on the power system. Various metrics are defined in different areas—system operation, security, and electricity markets—to quantify those impacts. The methodology is finally applied to the European power system to produce a comparative assessment of the effects of the lockdown in the European context. Full article
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19 pages, 8639 KiB  
Article
Impact on Electricity Consumption and Market Pricing of Energy and Ancillary Services during Pandemic of COVID-19 in Italy
by Emilio Ghiani, Marco Galici, Mario Mureddu and Fabrizio Pilo
Energies 2020, 13(13), 3357; https://doi.org/10.3390/en13133357 - 01 Jul 2020
Cited by 146 | Viewed by 10287
Abstract
At the moment of writing, in Italy, there is an ongoing pandemic of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19), caused by severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2). Its outbreak is leading to severe global socioeconomic disruptions impacting on all economic sectors from tourism, industry [...] Read more.
At the moment of writing, in Italy, there is an ongoing pandemic of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19), caused by severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2). Its outbreak is leading to severe global socioeconomic disruptions impacting on all economic sectors from tourism, industry and the tertiary sector, up to the operational and opening of public offices, the closure of schools and the organization of families. Measures adopted by the Italian government to deal with the COVID-19 emergency have had direct effects both on people’s daily lives and on the activity of most industrial and commercial production companies. These changes have been unequivocally reflected also on the Italian electricity system, which has shown unprecedented behavior in terms of both energy consumption and volume—and subsequently, in the observed share of renewable and conventional production technologies. The goal of this study is to show the impact on the power industry of all the restrictions and lockdown of the activities in Italy and to discuss the effects of COVID-19 outbreak on the bulk power system and the entire electricity sector. In particular, the consequences on load profiles, electricity consumption and market prices in Italy, including the environmental aspects, are examined. Full article
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