"Electricity is the backbone of our society," Peter Palensky, from the Delft University of Technology in the Netherlands, told CNBC. "Health, transport, food, information: all of that relies on electricity nowadays."
The U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) says that U.S. electricity consumption amounted to around 3.85 trillion kilowatt hours last year.
To put things in perspective, the EIA said that electricity use in 2016 was "13 times greater" than in 1950.
Breaking the figures down further, the EIA estimates that "space cooling" — in other words, air conditioning — was the single biggest use of electricity in the U.S. residential sector.
In the U.S. commercial sector, the EIA estimates that refrigeration was "the largest single end use" of electricity.