EIA Energy Outlook Projects Greater Use of Renewables, and Reduced Oil and Natural Gas Imports

"Our projections show that existing policies that stress energy efficiency and alternative fuels, together with higher energy prices, curb energy consumption growth and shift the energy mix toward renewable fuels," said EIA Administrator Richard Newell. "However, assuming no new policies, fossil fuels would still provide about 78 percent of all the energy used in 2035."

These reference case projections do not include the effects of potential future policies that have not yet become law, and only include technologies that are commercially available or can reasonably be expected to become commercially available over roughly the next decade. Some of the key findings are:

Moderate Energy Consumption Growth and Greater Use of Renewables: Total primary energy consumption grows by 14 percent between 2008 and 2035, as the fossil fuel share of total U.S. energy consumption falls from 84 percent to 78 percent .

Declining Reliance on Imported Liquid Fuels: Total U.S. consumption of liquid fuels, including both fossil liquids and biofuels, grows from 19 million barrels per day in 2008 to 22 million barrels per day in 2035. Biofuels account for all of the growth, as consumption of petroleum-based liquids is essentially flat. As a result, reliance on imported oil declines significantly over the next 25 years.

Shale Gas Drives Growth in Natural Gas Production and Reduces Reliance on Imported Gas: Total domestic natural gas production grows from 20.6 trillion cubic feet in 2008 to 23.3 trillion cubic feet in 2035. With technology improvements and rising natural gas prices, natural gas production from shale grows to 6 trillion cubic feet in 2035, more than offsetting declines in conventional production.

Energy-Related Carbon Dioxide (CO2) Emissions Continue to Grow, Assuming No New Policies: CO2 emissions from energy grow at 0.3 percent per year, assuming no new policies to reduce energy-related CO2 emissions. Total energy-related CO2 emissions grow from 5,814 million metric tons in 2008 to 6,320 million metric tons in 2035, although per capita emissions fall by 0.6 percent per year. Most of the CO2 growth in the AEO2010 reference case is accounted for by the electric power and transportation sectors.

Other highlights of the AEO2010 reference case projections:

* U.S. crude oil production increases from 5 million barrels per day in 2008 to over 6 million barrels per day in 2027 and remains at just over 6 million barrels per day through 2035. Growth in crude oil production results from increases in offshore production and in onshore production using enhanced oil recovery techniques.

* Total electricity consumption, including both purchases from electric power producers and on-site generation, grows by 1 percent per year over the projection period, from 3,873 billion kilowatthours in 2008 to 5,021 billion kilowatthours in 2035.

* Natural gas and renewable power plants (solar and wind power) account for the majority of electricity generating capacity additions. The natural gas share falls slightly due to the completion of coal plants under construction, and the addition of new renewable capacity. However, by 2035 the share of generation from natural gas again increases to 21 percent. Renewable generation shows the strongest growth between now and 2035, spurred by incentive programs in more than half the States. The renewable share of generation grows from 9 percent of generation in 2008 to 17 percent of generation in 2035.

The reference case projections from the Early Release of the AEO2010 are available at http://www.eia.doe.gov/oiaf/aeo/index.html. The full AEO2010 report, including projections with differing assumptions on the price of oil, the rate of economic growth, and the characteristics of new technologies, will be released in early 2010, along with regional projections.

The product described in this press release was prepared by the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA), the statistical and analytical agency within the U.S. Department of Energy. By law, EIA’s data, analysis, and forecasts are independent of approval by any other officer or employee of the United States Government. The views in the product and press release therefore should not be construed as representing those of the Department of Energy or other Federal agencies.