Later, 8:32 p.m. Central Time: see first comment. Click on these links to see some striking graphics which might explain the decrease in electricity usage during the Obama presidency. The most striking is the "median income" graph:
This had nothing to do with the EIA explanation: a) weather; b) LED lights and energy-saving devices; and, c) the Bakken.
It is a well-known fact that the recovery from the Great Recession was the worse recovery on record. The flattening (and actual decrease) of residential electricity sales corresponds exactly to the years Barack Obama was president.
Something else was going on. That line labeled "Pre-Obama" is absolutely incredible when you think about it. There aren't many economic data curves that climb that fast, and then look how fast the "curve" changed. It didn't just slow down; it came to a complete stop, reversed direction (from upward to downward), went down a bit more and then flattened out/descended throughout the rest of his presidency. Darndest thing I've ever seen.
It will be interesting to see the analysis, explaining the drop in electricity consumption / capita. One wonders if (I'm writing this before going to the source):
- all those "energy-saving" devices that have been sold over the years
- LEDs replacing conventional tungsten lightbulbs
This decline all came during the Obama administration; prior to that, we did not see this in the Bush administration. It will be interesting to see whether things change or stay the same during the Trump "era."
EIA provides this analysis:
- energy saving devices
- LED lighting
Other factors, such as income growth, have affected retail electricity sales, especially in states such as North Dakota. North Dakota experienced significant economic growth as crude oil production from the Bakken region increased from 2008 to 2015.
Annual new housing permits in North Dakota increased from fewer than 4,000 units in 2010 to more than 12,000 units in 2014. As the size of new houses increased and residents who experienced rapid income growth likely increased their home use of electricity, per capita residential electricity sales in North Dakota grew by 12% from 2008 to 2014, the most rapid growth in the nation during this time.If there is "truth" in the North Dakota piece, it speaks volumes about how huge the Bakken really was. And note: they are hiring electricians in North Dakota again.
With the decline in oil prices starting in mid-2014, per capita real gross domestic product in North Dakota fell by 12% from 2014 to 2016, with new housing permits falling to less than 4,000 units in 2016. During this period, North Dakota’s per capita electricity consumption declined from a peak of 7,241 kWh in 2014 to 6,149 kWh in 2016.