‹ Analysis & Projections

Annual Energy Outlook 2014

Release Date: May 7, 2014   |  Next Early Release Date: February 2015   |  See schedule  |  full report

Issues in Focus

Implications of low electricity demand growth

Laura Martin

Release Date: 4/30/14

Although electricity demand fell in only three years between 1950 and 2007, it declined in four of the five years between 2008 and 2012. The largest drop occurred in 2009 (Figure IF8-1). One contributing factor was the steep economic downturn from late 2007 through 2009, which led to a large drop in electricity sales in the industrial sector. Other factors, such as efficiency improvements associated with new appliance standards in the buildings sectors and overall improvement in the efficiency of technologies powered by electricity, have slowed electricity demand growth and may contribute to slower growth in the future, even as the U.S. economy continues its recovery.

Variations in AEO2014 renewable electricity projections

Gwen Bredehoeft

Release Date: 4/29/14

In the AEO2014 Reference case, renewable electricity generation grows by 69% from 2012 to 2040, including an increase of more than 140% in generation from nonhydropower renewable energy sources. Renewables are collectively the fastest-growing source of electricity generation in the projection, with annual growth rates that exceed the growth rate for natural gas-fired generation. However, because renewables start from a relatively low 12% market share of total generation, their contribution to U.S. total electricity generation is just 16% in 2040 in the Reference case, well below the natural gas and coal shares of 35% and 32%, respectively (Figure IF7-1).

Implications of accelerated power plant retirements

Jeffery jones/Mike Leff

Release Date: 4/28/14

In 2012, coal-fired and nuclear power plants together provided 56% of the electricity generated in the United States. The role of these technologies in the U.S. generation mix has been changing since 2009, as both low natural gas prices and slower growth of electricity demand have altered their competitiveness relative to other fuels. Many coal-fired plants also must comply with requirements of the Mercury and Air Toxics Standards (MATS) and other environmental regulations. Some of the challenges faced by coal-fired and nuclear generators, and the implications for electricity markets if the plants are retired in significant numbers, are analyzed in this discussion.

Implications of lower natural gas prices on industrial production

Elizabeth Sendich

Release Date: 4/23/14

This analysis focuses on variation in industrial output in the Low and High Oil Price cases and Low and High Oil and Gas Resource cases compared to the Annual Energy Outlook 2014 (AEO2014) Reference case. Energy-intensive industries, including food, paper, bulk chemicals, glass, cement, iron and steel, and aluminum, are the industries that use the largest amount of energy per unit of output and are the most sensitive to natural gas prices. Of these, the most natural gas-intensive industries are food, paper, bulk chemicals, and glass [1].

No Sunset and Extended Policies cases

Erin Boedecker, Kelly Perl, John Maples, and Gwen Bredehoeft

Release Date: 4/21/14

Two alternative cases are discussed in this section to provide insight into the sensitivity of the Reference case to scenarios, in which existing tax credits that have sunset dates are assumed not to sunset (No Sunset case), or other policies (i.e., CAFE standards, appliance standards, and building codes) are expanded beyond current provisions in combination with the elimination of the sunset dates on existing tax credits (Extended Policies case). No attempt is made to cover the full range of possible uncertainties in these areas, and readers should not view the cases discussed as EIA projections of how laws or regulations are likely to, or should, be changed. The cases examined here look only at federal laws or regulations and do not examine state laws or regulations.

Light-duty vehicle energy demand: demographics and travel behavior

Patricia Hutchins, John Maples

Release Date: 4/16/14

In 2012, energy consumption by light-duty vehicles (LDVs) accounted for 61% of all transportation energy consumption in the United States, or 8.4 million barrels of oil equivalent per day, and represented nearly 10% of world petroleum liquids consumption. LDV energy use is driven by both LDV fuel economy and travel behavior, as measured by LDV vehicle miles traveled (VMT). LDV VMT per licensed driver peaked in 2007 at 12,900 miles per year and decreased to 12,500 miles in 2012.

Potential for liquefied natural gas use as a railroad fuel

Nicholas Chase

Release Date: 4/14/14

Continued growth in domestic natural gas production, along with substantially lower natural gas spot prices compared to crude oil, is reshaping the U.S. energy economy and attracting considerable interest in the potential for fueling freight locomotives with liquefied natural gas (LNG). While there is significant appeal for major U.S. railroads to use LNG as a fuel for locomotives because of its potentially favorable economics compared with diesel fuel, there are also key uncertainties as to whether, and to what extent, the railroads can take advantage of this relatively cheap and abundant fuel.

U.S. tight oil production: Alternative supply projections and an overview of EIA’s analysis of well-level data aggregated to the county level

Dana Van Wagener

Release Date: 4/07/14

U.S. production of tight oil has increased dramatically in the past few years, from less than 1 million barrels per day (MMbbl/d) in 2010 to more than 3 MMbbl/d in the second half of 2013. The Annual Energy Outlook 2014 (AEO2014) Reference case reflects continued growth in tight oil production. However, growth potential and sustainability of domestic crude oil production hinge around uncertainties in key assumptions, such as well production decline, lifespan, drainage areas, geologic extent, and technological improvement—both in areas currently being drilled and in those yet to be drilled. As a result, High and Low Oil and Gas Resource cases were developed to examine the effects of alternate resource and technology assumptions on production, imports, and prices.

Introduction

The "Issues in focus" section of the Annual Energy Outlook (AEO) provides in-depth discussions on topics of special significance, including changes in assumptions and recent developments in technologies for energy production and consumption. Selected topics from recent AEOs are listed below. read more ›

Introduction

The "Issues in focus" section of the Annual Energy Outlook (AEO) provides in-depth discussions on topics of special significance, including changes in assumptions and recent developments in technologies for energy production and consumption. Selected topics from recent AEOs are listed in the tabs (below right).

Topics discussed in this section include:

  • U.S. tight oil production: Alternative supply projections and an overview of EIA's analysis of well-level data aggregated to the county level
  • Potential for liquefied natural gas use as a railroad fuel
  • Light-duty vehicle energy demand: demographics and travel behavior
  • No Sunset and Extended Policies cases
  • Impacts of lower natural gas prices on industrial production
  • Implications of accelerated power plant retirements
  • Variations in AEO2014 renewable electricity projections
  • Implications of low electricity demand growth