Friday, January 25, 2019

U.S. EIA Energy Outlook: Renewables Share Of Electricity Generation To Almost Double By 2050, Coal Continues To Drop

On January 24, the U.S. Energy Information Agency reported in its 2019 Annual Energy Outlook that electricity generation from renewables will nearly double between now and 2050 from 18 to 31 percent and coal-fired generation will drop from 28 to 17 percent.
Natural gas generation will continue to increase from 34 to 39 percent by 2050 and nuclear energy generation will fall slightly from 19 to 12 percent.
As noted, the power sector experiences a notable shift in fuels used to generate electricity, driven in part by historically low natural gas prices. Increased natural gas-fired electricity generation; larger shares of intermittent renewables; and additional retirements of less economic existing coal and nuclear plants occur during the projection period.
The continuing decline in natural gas prices and increasing penetration of renewable electricity generation have resulted in lower wholesale electricity prices, changes in utilization rates, and operating losses for a large number of baseload coal and nuclear generators.
Assumptions of declining costs and improving performance make wind and solar increasingly competitive compared with other renewable resources in the Reference case (existing policy assumptions).
Most of the wind generation increase occurs in the near term, when new projects enter service ahead of the expiration of key federal production tax credits.
Solar Investment Tax Credits (ITC) phase down after 2024, but solar generation growth continues because the costs for solar continue to fall faster than for other sources.
U.S. EIA also reported increasing energy efficiency across end-use sectors keeps U.S. energy consumption relatively flat, even as the U.S. economy continues to expand.
With respect to carbon dioxide emissions, U.S. EIA said in the Reference case, the CO2 intensities of the residential and commercial sectors decline less than 1 percent when only their direct CO2 intensities are counted.
When the electric power sector energy is distributed to the end-use sectors, the residential and commercial sectors decline by 11 percent and 10 percent, respectively, while the industrial sector declines by 11 percent. Transportation carbon intensity declines by 5 percent.
As a point of reference, the Reference case using existing policy assumptions, will clearly not yield enough carbon dioxide reductions to meet the 80 percent or more in reductions needed to prevent significant climate disruptions.
Click Here for a copy of the complete report.

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