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The cheaper the electricity the lower its carbon footprint!

Supply and demand

Photo Credit Milton CJ

I was speaking at the EventoBlog España conference on Saturday and I made the comment that electricity’s carbon footprint tends to increase as it becomes more expensive.

In follow-up questions, I failed to explain well what I meant so I will attempt to do so here.

Electricity pricing (on the wholesale market) is a function of supply and demand. When demand is high, electricity is expensive, when demand is low, electricity is typically cheap.

For weather based renewables (wind, solar, wave) – they produce power completely independently of the price of electricity, so they produce the same amount whether electricity is cheap or expensive.

Since weather based renewables are on average a constant percentage then they tend to have a higher slice of the market when electricity is in low demand/cheaper.

In other words, weather based renewables are independent of demand, therefore at times of low demand, they have a higher share of the market. This is even more so the case for wind which tends to blow more at night when demand is lower.

As there is a definite correlation between low demand and low price, it can be said by extension that the cheaper the electricity, the lower its carbon footprint!