On Jan. 29, 2020 the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) released its Annual Energy Outlook 2020 report. Also known as the AEO2020, the outlook includes updated projections of future energy production and use in the United States.
The below is from the Energy Information Administration’s Jan. 29, 2020 press release titled: “EIA’s Annual Energy Outlook 2020 explores the changing U.S. energy mix through 2050 as consumption grows more slowly than production, particularly of oil, natural gas, and renewables, resulting in increasing exports and relatively stable CO2 emissions.”
The AEO2020 Reference case, which serves as a baseline modeled projection designed to explore varying assumptions about the economy, technology, and policy, examines a future where slower growth in consumption in an increasingly energy efficient U.S. economy contrasts with increasing energy supply because of technological progress in renewable sources, oil, and natural gas.
“We see renewables as the fastest-growing source of electricity generation through 2050 as cost declines make them economically competitive beyond the expiration of existing federal and state policy supports,” noted EIA Administrator Linda Capuano. “With continued technologically enabled growth in domestic oil and natural gas production, we see the United States remaining a net exporter of energy for some time.”
EIA reported last year that the United States became a net exporter of energy on a monthly basis in September 2019 after decades of being a net importer.
In the AEO2020 Reference case, the share of U.S. electricity generation from renewable sources doubles between 2019 and 2050. Solar contributes most to that growth. Natural gas generation retains its share as coal and nuclear generation continue to decline.
At the same time, the United States continues to produce historically high levels of crude oil and natural gas. In the AEO2020 Reference case, because of continued development of tight oil and shale gas resources in the East and Southwest regions, U.S. crude oil production continues to set annual records through the mid-2020s and natural gas production grows through 2050.
The AEO2020 Reference case also projects that the United States will continue to export more crude oil, petroleum products, and natural gas than it imports. Liquefied natural gas exports combined with pipeline exports to Canada and to Mexico continue to rise through the 2020s before remaining relatively flat through 2050.
After falling until about 2030, U.S. energy-related carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions resume modest growth, but by 2050, are lower than 2019 levels. For the next decade, U.S. energy-related CO2 emissions decrease because of retirements of coal-fired generation capacity and corresponding changes in the fuel mix for electric power. Later, increases in energy demand due to growth in transportation and industry cause emissions to increase.
In addition to the AEO2020 baseline Reference case, EIA uses eight side cases to explore uncertainties. New in the AEO2020 are two cases that explore the implications of varying the assumed future costs of renewable power generation technologies.
Image above: Eric Kounce / Wikimedia Commons
This post was last revised on Feb. 3, 2020 @ 5:28 p.m. Pacific Standard Time.