On Monday, the Energy Information Administration (EIA) released the Annual Energy Outlook 2012 (AEO2012), a yearly report detailing expected trends in energy use and consumption for the nation. This year, it’s predominantly good news, as the report predicts US energy consumption should slow—with growth at less than 1% per year from now through 2035—while the country simultaneously moves away from dependence on foreign oil.
The report details a dramatic shift of the US energy landscape over the last few years, as domestic production of fossil fuels has increased and energy efficiency programs and regulations have begun to bear fruit, leading to lower energy consumption overall. Additional factors impacting energy use include a slow down in economic and population growth, fuel economy standards for vehicles, and rising gasoline prices. At the same time, crude oil production has increased in the last three years—and the government anticipates this growth will lead to the production of up to 6.7 million barrels of oil per day by 2020—while natural gas production is expected to outpace consumption within the next few years.
Renewable energy is also expected to play a larger role in the nation’s energy future. According to the report, by 2035 renewable energy should be generating around 15% of the country’s electricity—up from its current 10% production rate. The switch to natural gas and renewable energy will have positive environmental impacts as well, with GHG emissions expected to remain at their 2005 levels through 2035.
The AEO2012 is prepared annually by the EIA in an effort to present “long-term projections of energy supply, demand, and prices” based on National Energy Modeling Systems (NEMSs) and Federal, state, and local laws and regulations in effect through the previous years. While the energy models are “simplified representations of energy production and consumption,” AEO2012 is valuable for the insight and analysis it provides. The report covers everything from transportation sector energy demand, to CAFÉ and GHG standards, industrial energy use, and includes comparisons between domestic and international energy supply and demand.
You can watch Howard K. Gruenspecht, acting administrator of the US EIA, discuss the report here: