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New Report Projects Energy Generation and Consumption Trends



Growth in nuclear capacity and generation, enhanced biofuels consumption, and growth in coal-to-liquids (CTL) capacity and production are among the projections of The Annual Energy Outlook 2007 (AEO2007) reference case, released by the Energy Information Administration (EIA).


Growth in nuclear capacity and generation, enhanced biofuels consumption, and growth in coal-to-liquids (CTL) capacity and production are among the projections of The Annual Energy Outlook 2007 (AEO2007) reference case, released by the Energy Information Administration (EIA).

The reference case represents a baseline projection under existing policies and a given set of assumptions regarding economic, energy market, and technology conditions. Oil, coal and natural gas are projected to provide roughly the same 86 percent share of the total U.S. primary energy supply in 2030 as they did in 2005 absent changes in existing laws and regulations, the report says.

The report projects that total operable nuclear generating capacity will grow to 112.6 gigawatts in 2030, including 3 gigawatts of additional capacity uprates, and 12.5 gigawatts of new capacity stimulated in part by EPACT2005 tax credits and rising fossil fuel prices rise.  Total nuclear generation is projected to grow from 780 billion kilowatthours in 2005 to 896 billion kilowatthours in 2030, but the nuclear share of generation falls from 20 percent in 2005 to 15 percent in 2030.

Projected energy prices and recently enacted public policy will help to support greater use of alternative fuels, such as ethanol, biodiesel, and CTL, the report says.  The report projects that ethanol use will grow from 4 billion gallons in 2005 to 11.2 billion gallons in 2012 and 14.6 billion gallons (about 8 percent of total gasoline consumption by volume) in 2030.

Natural gas consumption is projected to grow to 26.1 trillion cubic feet (tcf) in 2030, well down from projected consumption of 30 tcf or more that had been included in the AEO reference case only a few years ago.  Much of this change results from projected natural gas prices that significantly cut the expected growth natural gas use for electricity generation over the last decade of the projection period, says EIA.

Coal is projected to play a growing role, particularly for electricity generation, according to the report.  Coal consumption is projected to increase from 22.9 quadrillion British thermal units (quads) in 2005 to over 34 quads in 2030, with significant additions of new coal-fired generation capacity over the last decade of the projection period.  The projections for coal use are particularly sensitive to the underlying assumption for the reference case analysis that current energy and environmental policies remain unchanged throughout the projection period, says EIA.    

Other highlights of the AEO2007 include:

- Total energy demand is projected to increase from 100.2 to 131.2 quads between 2005 and 2030, an average annual increase of 1.1 percent, in a scenario where the U.S. gross domestic product (GDP) grows at an average annual rate of 2.9 percent.

- After reaching a peak of 8.3 cents per kilowatthour (kwh) (2005 dollars) in 2006, average delivered real electricity prices will decline to a low of 7.7 cents per kwh in 2015 and then increase to 8.1 cents per kwh in 2030.  Without adjustment for inflation, average delivered electricity prices in the AEO2007 reference case are projected to reach 13 cents per kwh in 2030.

- Coal will remain the primary fuel for electricity generation.  The coal share of generation will increase from 50 percent in 2005 to 57 percent in 2030. The natural gas share of generation will increase from 19 percent in 2005 to 22 percent around 2016, before falling to 16 percent in 2030.  Over the entire period from 2005 to 2030, 156 gigawatts of new coal-fired generating capacity is projected to be added in the AEO2007 reference case, including 11 gigawatts at CTL plants and 67 gigawatts at Integrated Gasification Combined Cycle plants.  Possible future changes in energy or environmental policies could significantly impact these projected generation shares, says EIA.

- Consumption of renewable fuels is projected to grow from 6.5 quads in 2005 to 10.2 quads in 2030. More than 50 percent of the projected demand for renewables is for grid-related electricity generation, including combined heat and power, and the rest is for dispersed heating and cooling, industrial uses, and fuel blending.

- Carbon dioxide emissions from energy use are projected to grow at an average annual rate of 1.2 percent per year, from 5,945 million metric tons in 2005 to 7,950 million metric tons in 2030, reflecting growth in fossil fuel demand.  The carbon dioxide emissions intensity of the U.S. economy is projected to fall from 538 metric tons per million dollars of GDP in 2005 to 353 metric tons per million dollars of GDP in 2030, an average decline of 1.7 percent per year.

The full AEO2007 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 2007. The reference case projections from the AEO2007 is available at the EIA Web site.




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  posted on 12/7/2006   Article Use Policy




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