Britain’s policies encouraging renewable-energy use will prevent the country from suffering an electricity crisis leading to blackouts toward the end of the decade, Bloomberg New Energy Finance said.
The U.K. will build more than 30 gigawatts of power generation capacity by the end of 2016, two-thirds of it in solar, wind and biomass and the rest largely fired by natural gas, according to forecasts from the research company. That will help the nation cope with closing 19 gigawatts of fossil- fuel and nuclear power stations over this decade.
Prime Minister David Cameron’s government may avoid power shortages that blighted the U.K. during World War II and the 1970s, requiring industry to scale back operations and leaving millions of homes in the dark.
“The U.K. is embarking on an historic shift in its electricity supply, and commentators and critics have continually raised the specter of the lights going out once again,” said Michael Liebreich, chief executive officer of New Energy Finance. “Our analysis shows that, barring unforeseen circumstances, it is not going to happen.”
U.K. utilities need to spend as much as 200 billion pounds ($320 billion) to replace aging power plants and upgrade the electricity grid by 2020, according to the regulator Ofgem. About a third of Britain’s fossil-fuel power stations are due to close in the next three years to meet European Union rules on emissions, including plants run by RWE AG (RWE), EON AG and SSE Plc.
Dash for Gas
RWE and Electricite de France SA are due to switch on new gas-fueled power stations this year, and in total 11 gigawatts of gas plants may be built through 2016, according to New Energy Finance. The research company predicts 2 gigawatts of biomass plants, about 11 gigawatts of wind and 8 gigawatts of solar power will be installed in the five years through 2016.
While the intermittent nature of wind and solar power means the new capacity won’t fully offset the smaller capacity of fossil-fuel and nuclear plants that are being retired, a decline in domestic usage and industrial output following the recession means U.K. power demand may not return to the peak levels of 2005 within the next two decades, New Energy Finance said.
Britain’s oldest reactor at Oldbury, southwest England, closes today. Other atomic plants may shut in the next decade as they reach the end of their working lives. Cameron on Feb. 17 signed a civilian nuclear cooperation agreement with French President Nicolas Sarkozy, paving the way for the construction of a new generation of power stations in the U.K. The British premier took office saying he wanted his government to be the “greenest” ever.
EDF, in partnership with Centrica Plc (CNA), is among six utilities planning to build atomic stations in Britain. While EDF plans to have its first new plant up and running in 2018, that timeframe may slip, said Brian Potskowski, a power analyst at New Energy Finance.
“The long lead times for building new nuclear plants and uncertainty over how they will be subsidized means that the recent agreement between the U.K. and France on nuclear cooperation has little impact on whether the lights stay on in the 2015 to 2020 time-frame,” Potkowski said.
Morales, Alex & Airlie, Catherine (29 February, 2012) U.K. Renewables Push Will Prevent Power Crisis, New Energy Says. Retrieved from: http://tinyurl.com/86hwlew
ScienceDaily (Feb. 28, 2012) — The invention of a long-lasting incandescent light bulb in the 19th century spurred on the second wave of the industrial revolution, illuminating homes, extending leisure time and bringing us to the point today where many millions of people use a whole range of devices from mood lighting to audiovisual media centers, microwave ovens to fast-freeze ice makers, and allergy-reducing vacuum cleaners to high-speed broadband connected computers in their homes without a second thought.
However, the waves of the industrialization of the west have merely lapped at the shores of undeveloped regions and it is estimated that about a quarter of the world’s population, particularly those in rural parts of the developing world do not have access to electricity in their homes. Indeed, four-fifths of those without domestic electricity live in rural or on the urban margins. In sub-Saharan Africa, the proportion is even more startling where just 8% of the rural population has access to electricity.
Those in the developing countries are thus keen to electrify and need stable sources of power to stimulate development and improve their standard of living. The developed world is gradually recognizing the environmental costs of widespread electricity use, yet has neither the right nor the authority to deprive the developing nations of power. There is a need, therefore, to provide 100% off-grid zero-energy solutions that require little or no government involvement and are low maintenance. This would allow the developing world to wade into the technology the developed world enjoys without making the same woefully polluting mistakes regarding unsustainable power generation that are now a global problem.
Benedict Ilozor and Mohammed Kama of the Eastern Michigan University, in Ypsilanti, USA, suggest that renewable energy is a viable option for electrical power in developing and emerging nations. Writing in the inaugural issue of the African Journal of Economic and Sustainable Development, they point out that in most of these nations, the demand for energy far exceeds the generating capacity. They suggests that a rapid response to this huge demand that is informed by social, political, economic, climatic and environmental factors must be put in place so that renewable, sustainable energy supply can be identified.
The researchers have undertaken a case study of Nigeria in West Africa, which is perhaps representative of the situation prevalent in most developing and emerging nations. They suggest that cost is the limiting factor and that communities and governments would be unable to subsidize neither the one-time installation costs nor the ongoing maintenance however low, for most renewable energy solutions. It is, they say up to the private sector and commercial banks, and perhaps charitable organizations, to fund the installation of wind turbines, solar panels and other renewable energy systems so that wealth-generating development can take place and standards of living raised quickly. They posit the idea of a renewable energy mortgage that would be paid back as the specific region developed and grew economically. There are many approaches to solar power, for instance, that could be implemented by individual households or small communities for domestic electricity as well as on a larger scale, while geothermal systems could be run to provide the power for cooling.
Inderscience Publishers (2012, February 28). Developing sustainable power. ScienceDaily. Retrieved February 29, 2012, from http://tinyurl.com/83lt25u
ScienceDaily (Feb. 9, 2012) — A joint research project between the University of Southampton and lithium battery technology company REAP systems has found that a new type of battery has the potential to improve the efficiency and reduce the cost of solar power.
The research project, sponsored by REAP systems, was led by MSc Sustainable Energy Technologies student, Yue Wu and his supervisors Dr Carlos Ponce de Leon, Professor Tom Markvart and Dr John Low (currently working at the University’s Research Institute for Industry, RIfI). The study looked specifically into the use of lithium batteries as an energy storage device in photovoltaic systems.
Student Yue Wu says, “Lead acid batteries are traditionally the energy storage device used for most photovoltaic systems. However, as an energy storage device, lithium batteries, especially the LiFePO4batteries we used, have more favorable characteristics.”
Data was collected by connecting a lithium iron phosphate battery to a photovoltaic system attached to one of the University’s buildings, using a specifically designed battery management system supplied by REAP systems.
Yue adds, “the research showed that the lithium battery has an energy efficiency of 95 per cent whereas the lead-acid batteries commonly used today only have around 80 per cent. The weight of the lithium batteries is lower and they have a longer life span than the lead-acid batteries reaching up to 1,600 charge/discharge cycles, meaning they would need to be replaced less frequently.”
Although the battery will require further testing before being put into commercial photovoltaic systems the research has shown that the LiFePO4 battery has the potential to improve the efficiency of solar power systems and help to reduce the costs of both their installation and upkeep. Dr Carlos Ponce de Leon and Dr. John Low now plan to take this project further with a new cohort of Masters students.
Dr Dennis Doerffel, founder of REAP systems and former researcher at the University of Southampton, says: “For all kinds of energy source (renewable or non-renewable), the energy storage device — such as a battery — plays an important role in determining the energy utilization. Compared with traditional lead acid batteries, LiFePO4 batteries are more efficient, have a longer lifetime, are lighter and cost less per unit. We can see the potential of this battery being used widely in photovoltaic application, and other renewable energy systems.”
University of Southampton (2012, February 9). New battery could lead to cheaper, more efficient solar energy. ScienceDaily.Retrieved from: http://tinyurl.com/79m7sob
PennWell Corporation announces a new annual conference and exhibition for the large-scale solar power market. Solar POWER-GEN Conference and Exhibition, which will premier in Long Beach, CA on Feb. 14-16, 2012, will be co-located with the 9th annual Renewable Energy World Conference & Expo North America. The new event will delve into the specifics of developing, supporting and growing large-scale solar power in North America.
“PennWell Corporation sees large-scale solar power as an area oised for explosive growth in the power markets,” said Dick Rauner, Group Publisher North America Renewable Energy Group for PennWell Corporation. “The large-scale solar market is expected to double in the next year and costs are projected to be cut in half by 2020,” he said. “Solar POWER-GEN Conference & Exhibition will the THE place to watch the market evolve and continue to expand in the years to come.”
Conference participants will learn about large-scale solar policy, markets, finance and technology through discussions covering a wide range of topics such as the expanding role of solar power across North America; how policy is driving innovation; technology breakthroughs in solar power equipment; utility ownership of solar and much more. Attendees will enjoy educational seminars, product demonstrations, exhibits and entertainment.
Exhibitors will reach attendees from North America, Europe, and Asia – a truly worldwide audience. Solar POWER-GEN Conference & Exhibition will provide a dynamic conference program, expert speakers and high-level discussion all set in one of the North America’s most forward-looking solar energy markets — California. Attendees and exhibitors will meet in Long Beach to discuss and debate large-scale solar energy development issues such as:
Market Growth – In 2010, the U.S. solar power market grew more than 100%, with 28% of installations considered large-scale – over 1 MW. There are now more than 700 MW of utility PV projects under contract and 11GW of concentrating solar power plants in various stages of development.
Falling Costs – Industry analysts predict the costs associated with the development of large-scale solar power plants will be cut by 50% by 2020, if not sooner.
Greater Demand – With global events like nuclear disasters and growing concern over CO2 emissions, water shortages and energy security, solar power will be the go-to energy source in the next decade.
Large-Scale Solutions – Large-scale solar power is not without its own environmental, financial, political and technical challenges, all of which will be explored and discussed at Solar POWER-GEN Conference and Exhibition, a conference dedicated to the growing large-scale solar power industry.
- How will the industry overcome the backlash against large solar projects?
- Is financing readily available given the technical challenges of installing large-scale projects?
- Will limited water supplies favor PV over CSP?
- Can costs continue to drop as fast as they have been?
- Which local, state and federal policies favor large-scale solar over distributed solar?
- Will the need for more transmission impact the industry?
- How can the North American, European and Asian large-scale solar players learn from each others successes – and failures?
Rauner went on to mention, “PennWell also produces the world’s largest annual power event, POWER-GEN International and plans to draw on its same strengths to create a world-class educational and networking event. We’ll package Solar POWER-GEN with our successful Renewable Energy World Conference & Expo North America even for even greater exhibitor and attendee appeal across the solar power generation spectrum.”
Chitty, Cassie. (12 May, 2011) New Solar POWER-GEN Conference & Exhibition, dedicated to advancing the large-scale solar power market. Retrieved from: http://tinyurl.com/3uf49jl
As part of the Roosevelt Island Tidal Energy project, 30 turbines are being installed along the strait that connects the Long Island Sound with the Atlantic Ocean in the New York Harbor. The project, led by Verdant Power, Inc., is the first ever commercially licensed tidal energy project in the United States.
The turbines are scheduled to be fully installed by 2015 and will use the flow of the river and tides to generate 1,050 kilowatts of electricity — enough to power 9,500 New York homes.
The turbines will also collect important data about environmental impacts on fish and river sediment and provide jobs to a team of technicians who will maintain and monitor the equipment.
The Energy Department helps advance water power technologies by funding research to determine the size of the water resource and by developing innovative technologies to unleash its energy potential. The Department began providing Verdant Power with funding in 2008 to improve the turbines’ blade design. Verdant had been successfully developing and testing turbine prototypes in the East River since 2002, but those turbine rotors were not durable enough to be scaled up for commercialization. With the Department’s assistance, Verdant designed and tested new blades, which are stronger and more reliable — allowing them to capture more energy from faster currents at greater depths and at a lower cost.
This technological improvement represents progress for the entire tidal energy industry.
Department funding for innovative water power technologies is helping the United States to take advantage of its vast water power resources to generate clean energy and to bolster the renewable energy economy. As advanced marine and hydrokinetic technologies are responsibly deployed and new hydropower opportunities are seized, water resources could deliver 15 percent of our nation’s electricity supply by 2030. Visit the Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy’s Water Power Program to learn more about how marine and hydrokinetic technologies are generating renewable, environmentally responsible, and cost-effective electricity from water resources.
Writer, DOE website. (6 February, 2012) Turbines Off NYC East River Will Create Enough Energy to Power 9,500 Homes. Retrieved from: http://tinyurl.com/7cz8guh
Despite uncertainties in the solar energy market, New York officials should support the “steady and measured growth” of solar power in the state as part of a balanced renewable energy strategy.
The report, by the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority, known as Nyserda, evaluated the costs and benefits of pursuing the growth of solar to an installed capacity of 5,000 megawatts by the year 2025, from around 110 megawatts now. Yet because of variables like the cost of photovoltaic technology and the future availability of federal tax credits for solar investment, the authors found it hard to estimate how much solar would really cost.
The financial scenarios vary widely. It could cost New York State ratepayers anywhere from $300 million to $9 billion to install solar power between 2013 and 2049. The report said that under the most likely conditions, the cost would be about $3 billion and the installations would increase electric bills by up to 3 percent in any given year. In other words, the costs exceed the benefits.
Nevertheless, the report, which was mandated by the State Legislature to guide New York State in its pursuit of renewable power to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and create jobs, recommended that the state continue policies that support solar, “given the many potential benefits that PV has to offer and the long-term potential for lower-cost PV technology.”
Such policies include investing in research, removing red tape for installation permits and providing sales tax exemptions.
Navarro, Mireya (1 February, 2012) New York’s Solar Balance Sheet. Retrieved from: http://tinyurl.com/7rsumrv
In his annual State of the Union address, President Obama declared: “I will not walk away from clean energy.”
His words were a sharp rebuttal to critics harping on the Solyndra bankruptcy and others making dire predictions about the downfall of the renewable energy industry.
So, who is right? Will 2012 be a breakthrough year for renewable, or will it collapse?
Despite conventional wisdom, there is a growing body of evidence showing that renewables are no longer decades away from being a viable and affordable alternative to fossil fuels. Instead, onshore wind and solar photovoltaics are close to a tipping point to compete head-to-head with coal and natural gas in many countries.
In fact, it’s likely that 2012 could be the year when renewable energy (not counting hydropower) will surpass fossil fuels, signaling a profound shift toward a global clean energy economy.
Investors are leading the charge toward a clean energy future, betting heavily on renewable energy. Global investment in clean energy generation capacity reached a record high of $260 billion in 2011, Bloomberg New Energy Finance announced last month. That was up 5 percent above 2010 levels and almost five times the 2004 total. The United States, surprisingly, led the world in renewable energy investment at nearly $56 billion, and China was second with more than $47 billion.
Wind farms in China and solar panels on rooftops in Europe are the biggest signs of growth. But the renewables boom is a global phenomenon. In South and Central America, investments rose 39 percent to $13 billion. In India, they rose by 25 percent to almost $4 billion; and in the Middle East and Africa, by 104 percent to $5 billion.
So what is getting investors — from asset financiers to venture capitalists — so excited?
The answer is simple: wind and solar energy is becoming increasingly cost competitive with coal and natural gas. In the past few years, the costs of PV modules and wind turbines have tumbled, driven mainly by technology innovations and a maturing supply chain. The results are evident in falling clean energy prices around the world.
Take just a few examples:
- In the United States, the authoritative National Renewable Energy Laboratory forecasts that solar PV residential electricity prices could be cost competitive by 2015 across two-thirds of the country.
- In Italy, Spain, Greece, Portugal, and Japan, solar PV is on course to match retail electricity fossil fuel prices next year, without the benefit of subsidies, according to Pike Research.
- In Brazil, wind power plants undercut natural gas competitors in bidding for government power contract tenders last summer.
- And in China, wind power prices are expected to be competitive with coal within two years
But before rushing to invest your entire pension in clean energy, there are some important caveats. Renewable power is not yet a mainstream global industry. It made up only a little over 3 percent of total world electricity generation, as of 2009.
While its future seems bright, the outcome may hang on how two key issues play out:
First is the unpredictable effect of the shale gas boom. In countries like the United States, where low electricity prices already make it tough for renewables to become cost competitive, abundant and cheap shale gas may drive energy prices down even further and divert investment from wind and solar power. Low-priced natural gas is good for consumers, but it could slow the growth of renewable. This could have additional negative environmental consequences, including on greenhouse gas emissions.
The second key issue is whether governments will keep up their investor-friendly commitments to clean energy policy and incentives. The BNEF report, Global Trends in Renewable Energy Investment 2011, showed significant progress on that front. By early 2011, some 119 countries had policies or targets in place to support renewables, more than half of them in the developing world.
But given the turbulent global economy, it is likely that fiscal and political constraints will continue to bite across much of the globe in 2012. Governments may see support for wind and solar as tempting for budget cuts.
In the United States, for example, wind power developers are nervous about the potential expiration of the Production Tax Credit in December 2012. If Congress fails to renew or replace it, the industry’s robust growth will likely falter. President Obama acknowledged as much during State of the Union, when he called on Congress to extend support for wind power and solar power. So the outlook for the year is still sunny, but not cloudless for renewables.
Given the significant strides the industry has made, it would be unfortunate if governments and investors turned their backs now. If they forge ahead, 2012 could indeed see global investment surpass that for fossil fuels, crossing an important threshold toward a clean energy future.
Bapna, Manish (9 February, 2012) 2012: A Breakthrough for Renewable Energy? Retrieved from: http://tinyurl.com/7w9h2va
Renewable energy in the United States is at a crossroads. With several federal tax grants set to expire by the end of 2012, utilities are trying to decide if the falling prices of solar and wind technology makes renewable energy competitive enough to invest in despite vanishing federal aid.
Lindsay Morris recently discussed the future of renewable energy with four renewable executives: Tom Doyle, president and CEO of NRG Solar; Michael DeAngelis, manager of energy research, Sacramento Municipal Utility District (SMUD); Steve Sawyer, secretary general of the Global Wind Energy Council; and Ed Feo, managing partner,USRG Renewable Finance. These renewable energy leaders discussed the possibility of a North America sans renewable tax grants, the pros and cons of low-cost manufacturing of PV modules, the role of renewable energy in light of the natural gas revolution, and more.
How will the removal of the 1603 Treasury Grant affect renewable energy developments? Will we see more state renewable programs popping up to encourage renewable growth?
Mike DeAngelis: The 1603 Treasury Grant Program is a significant incentive to renewable energy development. At SMUD, we’re in the final stages of negotiating sale and buyback agreements for our new 120 MW wind project in Solano that is now under construction. The sale is to a private party. The 1603 Program is a very important part of the deal.
Ed Feo: I agree that the 1603 has been a significant program for renewables over the last two years. As of September 2011, the Department of Treasury reports that almost 20,000 projects have been funded for a total of more than $9 billion since the program began in 2009. Let’s assume for the sake of this discussion that the grant is not renewed or replaced with something very similar to it. If you do the math and back out the amount of the grant based tax equity transactions, the tax equity market suddenly falls from a volume of over $7 billion to around $3.6 billion.
Another factor affecting the tax equity market is the expiration of the Production Tax Credits (PTC) at the end of 2012. What we’re seeing is a pretty significant acceleration of wind development financing into 2012 that might otherwise have fallen to 2013. This acceleration of development and financing in wind will actually put more pressure on the tax equity market in 2012, and could have the effect of increasing pricing for the available tax equity.
Tom Doyle: I think you’re going to see different types of development going forward. The large scale, utility-type development activity is going to be impacted the most by the loss of the 1603 grant. I think there will still be tax equity markets available for smaller projects.
Will there be a time when renewable energy no longer needs government subsidies?
Doyle: The way we’re developing our business plan, we absolutely assume that there will be a point in time over the next five years when renewable energy no longer needs government subsidies. We see a lot of markets from a retail price perspective where solar projects can achieve grid parity without government subsidies. In fact, we’ve studied the U.S. market and believe that within the next three to four years, there are more than 20 states where we can compete without government subsidies.
DeAngelis: Regarding declining costs, we have really seen some of the renewable energy technologies moving down the price curve as production economies, learning curve progress, and innovation occurs over time. As that continues, I think we’re going to see excellent competitive prices from wind and solar PV.
Steve Sawyer: We have successful wind developments in New Zealand, Mexico and Brazil without any government subsidies of the kind that we’re used to seeing in the U.S. If we’re talking about a level playing field, I think that wind and solar in many locations are ready to compete right now.
How do low natural gas prices and the overall “natural gas boom” affect the renewable energy market in the U.S.?
Doyle: From my perspective, low natural gas prices force us to sharpen our pencils and focus more aggressively on ways that we’re going to be able to drive down costs. I actually think low natural gas prices have been a benefit to the renewable space because I think we’ve all seen what’s happened with respect to prices in a very short amount of time. I do believe at some point in time, we’re going to see gas prices elevate north of the $4 level, and that’s only going to be an upside for a renewable space that has already worked out a lot of the major issues to drive down costs and achieve grid parity.
DeAngelis: I think it’s true that increased natural gas supply and low prices will make it more difficult for renewables to compete in the U.S. And though natural gas is certainly much better than coal and petroleum in terms of greenhouse gas emissions, it still results in significant carbon emissions. If California is going to meet an overall goal of 80 percent reduction (of greenhouse gases) by 2050, then that means eventually reductions in natural gas use would be needed also.
Feo: The RPS programs really put renewables off in a separate procurement bucket so you don’t have this head-to-head competition between natural gas and renewables. But natural gas does affect what the price of power is, and that in turn affects what’s going to be considered an acceptable price for renewables. I think on the natural gas side, the impact is potentially greater on coal than it is for renewables, with gas becoming the dominant fossil fuel. It may be more of a battle between coal and natural gas than between natural gas and renewables.
Sawyer: Slow – painfully slow – the world is moving to price carbon emissions. When you compare just the combustion of gas and coal, the advantage for gas is quite substantial, but when you include the fugitive emissions from the hydro-fracking process, the situation changes dramatically.
On the manufacturing side, does it look like the majority of technology will continue to come from other countries? If the U.S. were to gain the upper hand in the renewable technology market, would that be beneficial to American renewable developers?
I think it’s hard to have a crystal ball on this topic. Particularly China has become a major force in photovoltaics and may be becoming significant also in wind manufacturing. The Solyndra issue aside, I think the jury is still out concerning U.S. innovation and U.S. subsidies and whether they can overtake the government subsidies from other countries and the cheap labor applied to traditional wind and solar PV technologies. But yes, if the U.S. renewable growth continues, that’s certainly going to help support the industry and the economy in this country.
Sawyer: I can’t speak for PV, but I do not believe it will ever be the case that any significant percentage of the wind turbines erected in the U.S. will come from other countries. The economics of wind means that anything other than quite a small quantity will be shipped around the world.
Feo: Having been at SPI and having walked around the exhibit hall, I think it was noteworthy to see how many manufacturers were there from Asia, but also from Europe and the U.S. It was quite the drama to have the SolarWorld case announced in the middle of the conference. I think it’s going to be fascinating to watch that case develop—is this a matter of selling panels cheaper in the US than at home, or simply a matter of more efficient manufacturing taking control of the market? The commentary thus far from developers is that they love that competition among manufacturers, whether it’s fair or unfair. At the end of the day, the competition results in lower prices and the ability to do more projects at competitive rates. If prices were to be increased, fewer projects would be economic.
Doyle: One thing that people need to appreciate is that there are different types of PV manufacturing. I think what you’re going to see more of going forward in the U.S. is module assembly. It’s a low-cost effort that really does make it appear as though you’re fabricating in-country. I think the cell manufacturing will continue to come largely from China.
I will echo what Ed said as far as would it be beneficial to American renewable developers if we had more technology developed in?house? I don’t think it really matters that much. I think what’s important to developers right now is the intense competition to drive down PV panel pricing. It’s such an aggressive market that it’s significantly surpassed our expectation of what we thought we could see as a buyer of PV products.
DeAngelis: There are technology improvements going on in wind very clearly right now – direct drive, new materials/components and other improvements. But inherently, wind has been penetrating grid-connected markets for a much longer amount of time than photovoltaics. I think there’s a whole series of PV technologies, particularly thin films and some of the concentrators that are still in the development stage. The more developed countries, with high labor costs and the resources to manufacture advanced, innovative technologies, can become competitive compared to the traditional sliced crystalline cell technologies that might require more labor provided in countries such as China.
Morris, Lindsay (2 February, 2012) Executive Roundtable: The Future of Utility-Scale Renewables. Retrieved from: http://tinyurl.com/6vvgn9o
On Monday, the Energy Information Administration (EIA) issued the Annual Energy Outlook 2012 Early Release. This preview report provides updated projections for U.S. energy markets through 2035, and is fascinating reading for anyone who is interested in the future of the U.S. energy economy. You can find the report’s key findings here, and the complete report is available here.
Among the most important findings:
- EIA predicts a decline in U.S. dependence on imported oil, a result of moderate demand growth, increased efficiency, growing domestic production, and the use of biofuels and other nonpetroleum fuels. EIA expects net petroleum imports to drop to 36% in 2035, from a high of 60% in 2005. See Figure 1 for EIA’s projections.
- EIA expects domestic oil and natural gas production to increase substantially. U.S. crude oil production is estimated to reach 6.7 million barrels per day in 2020, the highest level since 1994. Shale gas production is expected to be the driving force behind increased natural gas production, increasing from 5.0 trillion cubic feet in 2010 to 13.6 trillion cubic feet in 2035, accounting for nearly half of all domestic natural gas production, as shown in Figure 2.
A number of programs play a role in reducing our reliance on imported oil. Biofuels are estimated to provide more than 1 million barrels crude oil equivalent in 2024, improved vehicle fuel efficiency will help to reduce domestic demand for energy, and new extraction technologies will increase domestic production of oil and gas. The full report will be released on April 26, 2012.
EIA is the Energy Department’s statistical and analytical agency. EIA collects, analyzes, and disseminates independent and impartial energy information to promote sound policy making, efficient markets, and public understanding of energy and its interaction with the economy and the environment. For the latest updates on EIA’s reports and analysis, sign up for email updates, its RSS feeds, or follow it on Twitter.
Loveless, Matthew (23, January, 2012) A First Peek at Our Energy Future. Retrieved from: http://tinyurl.com/6orhh6b