Sport: the new energy saver?

Popular wisdom says that there are huge spikes in electricity dyring big sporting events. It’s all because of the intermissions. People leap up for hot snacks, cold beer and a trip to the loo. All that microwaving, fridge opening and hand washing burns up the kilowatts.

In fact, just the reverse happened during the final mens hockey game at the Winter Olympics when the host country played for gold.

The two curves on the chart show electricity consumption in Ontario. The grey line is a typical Sunday in February. The yellow line shows demand on Sunday February 28, 2010. That was the Canada-US gold-medal hockey game.

Is it good strategy to watch TV to save electricity?

The close game attracts more and more viewers. People stop doing everything else. Electricity demand drops. Sure, there are spikes for food, refreshment and sanitation. But overall, people glued to a TV use less juice than if they were doing the usual.

And the change lasts. Post-game electricity demand is still at least 10% below the usual Sunday peak.

OK, not too practical as an energy conservation strategy. Even for Canada.

Makes you wonder what the effect of the Spain-Netherlands game was.