Did Linux Power Consumption Improve At All This Year?
The short answer, as far as I've seen through my testing, is no. There were no major breakthroughs this year for extending Linux battery life nor any magical optimizations/fixes like a few years ago with the wide-spread ASPM issues. There were continued improvements to Intel's P-State drive and the generic CPUfreq driver along with some new CPUfreq drivers in the ARM space and various processor-specific improvements, but nothing really incredible.
I don't have data offhand for a wide number of laptops comparing power use throughout the year, but this weekend using a high-end Intel Haswell ultrabook at least did Ubuntu 14.10 vs. 15.10 (and a third run with Linux 4.4) to at least confirm in a narrow sense.
When running the same tests, there was slightly higher power use from the same hardware using the newer Ubuntu Linux release. All of those details on that lone ultrabook from this OpenBenchmarking.org result file.
Related Tests From This Month: How Intel Laptop Performance & Efficiency Evolved From Nehalem To Broadwell
Have you experienced any Linux power improvements or regressions this year? If you have, please share with us in the forums. If there is enough interest or belief of some change for select hardware, I can try reproducing that on my end if I have similar hardware available. But long story short, there wasn't anything huge and widespread on the Linux power management front in 2015.