DOE Publishes Early Release of 2013 U.S. Energy Outlook
Some key points:
- Domestic production of crude oil is increasing and is expected to continue to increase, reaching 7.5 million barrels per day by 2019
- Our consumption of natural gas is also expected to increase, from 6.8 trillion cubic feet per year in 2011 to 7.8 trillion cubic feet in 2019
- They have increased their projections of generation from solar and wind, from 13% of the total in 2011 to 16% in 2040. The EIA is not so optimistic about advanced biofuels, lowering the predicted output from all biomass from their 2012 prediction of 5.4 quads to 4.2 quads by 2035
- With improved efficiency of energy use and a shift away from the most carbon-intensive fuels, U.S. energy-related carbon dioxide
(CO2) emissions remain more than 5 percent below their 2005 level through 2040
- They have upped their prediction of GDP growth per year, from 2.5% to 2.6% CAGR through 2040.
- As for the reason I was so eager to look at the report… they obviously don’t agree with me. They predict that total energy consumption will a total of 7% by 2035, from 98 quads in 2011 to 104 quads in 2035 and then by 6% to 2040 to a total of 108 quads. (I think it will be higher.)
- Their justification still centers around their belief that energy intensity will decline as total U.S. population increases by 29 percent from 2011 to 2040, but energy use grows by only 10 percent, with energy use per capita declining by 15 percent from 2011 to 2040. I want some of what they’re smoking
Overall, I still think they’re looking too much at the inputs to their models–pricing and supply constraints, availability etc., instead of accepting that the demand for fuel is not very price sensitive and will be driven by population and GDP growth. Energy efficiency will surely help us out. But we’ve picked a lot of the low hanging fruit from that tree, and future progress in energy efficiency will be progressively more difficult.
3000 Quads is about energy for the 21st century. The world’s population is now estimated to peak at between 9 and 10 billion people somewhere around 2075. If they use energy at the same rate as the average American, they will consume 3,000 quadrillion btus. That isn’t written in stone–the Danes use half as much energy per person as Americans and they have a pretty good life. The developing world could aim for a Danish lifestyle instead of Yankee over-exuberance. But if it comes to pass, then we face a dilemma. If most of that energy is provided by burning coal, we face something close to disaster. My name is Tom Fuller. I work at a solar power company called Sungevity, a premiere provider of solar power to homeowners in the United States.
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