‹ Analysis & Projections

Annual Energy Outlook 2014

Release Dates: April 7 - 30, 2014   |  Next Early Release Date: December 2014   |  See schedule

Renewables from Executive Summary

Renewable fuel use grows at a faster rate than fossil fuel use


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The share of U.S. electricity generation from renewable energy grows from 13 percent in 2011 to 16 percent in 2040 in the Reference case. Electricity generation from solar and, to a lesser extent, wind energy sources grows as their costs decline, making them more economical in the later years of the projection. However, the rate of growth in renewable electricity generation is sensitive to several factors, including natural gas prices and the possible implementation of policies to reduce GHG emissions. If future natural gas prices are lower than projected in the Reference case, as illustrated in the High Oil and Gas Resource case, the share of renewable generation would grow more slowly, to only 14 percent in 2040. Alternatively, if broad-based policies to reduce GHG emissions were enacted, renewable generation would be expected to grow more rapidly. In three cases that assume GHG emissions fees that range from $10 to $25 per metric ton in 2014 and rise by 5 percent per year through 2040 (GHG10, GHG15, and GHG25), the renewable share of total U.S. electricity generation in 2040 ranges from 23 percent to 31 percent (Figure 8).

The AEO2013 Reference case reflects a less optimistic outlook for advanced biofuels to capture a rapidly growing share of the liquid fuels market than earlier Annual Energy Outlooks. As a result, biomass use in the Reference case totals 5.9 quadrillion Btu in 2035 and 7.1 quadrillion Btu in 2040, up from 4.0 quadrillion Btu in 2011.

Renewables from Market Trends

Production of liquid fuels from biomass, coal, and natural gas increases

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In 2011, world production of liquid fuels from biomass, coal, and natural gas totaled 2.1 million barrels per day, or about 2 percent of the energy supplied by all liquid fuels. In the AEO2013 Reference case, production from the three sources grows to 5.7 million barrels per day in 2040 (Figure 51), or about 4 percent of the energy supplied by all liquid fuels.

In the Low Oil Price case, production of liquid fuels from these sources grows to 6.7 million barrels per day in 2040, as technology development is faster than projected in the Reference case, making the liquids easier to produce at lower cost, and demand for ethanol for use in existing blend ratios is higher. In the High Oil Price case, production grows to 9.1 million barrels per day in 2040, as higher prices stimulate greater investment in advanced liquid fuels technologies.

Across the three oil price cases, the largest contributions to production of advanced liquid fuels come from U.S. and Brazilian biofuels. In the Reference case, biofuel production totals 4.0 million barrels per day in 2040, and production of gas-to-liquids (GTL) and coal-to-liquids (CTL) fuels accounts for 1.7 million barrels per day of additional production in 2040. Biofuels production in 2040 totals 5.5 million barrels per day in the Low Oil Price case and 5.9 million barrels per day in the High Oil Price case. The projections for CTL and GTL production are more sensitive to world oil prices, varying from 1.2 million barrels per day in the Low Oil Price case to 3.3 million barrels per day in the High Oil Price case in 2040. In the Reference case, the U.S. share of world GTL production in 2040 is 36 percent, as recent developments in domestic shale gas supply have contributed to optimism about the long-term outlook for U.S. GTL plants.

Renewables and natural gas lead rise in primary energy consumption

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The aggregate fossil fuel share of total energy use falls from 82 percent in 2011 to 78 percent in 2040 in the Reference case, while renewable use grows rapidly (Figure 54). The renewable share of total energy use (including biofuels) grows from 9 percent in 2011 to 13 percent in 2040 in response to the federal renewable fuels standard; availability of federal tax credits for renewable electricity generation and capacity during the early years of the projection; and state renewable portfolio standard (RPS) programs.

Natural gas consumption grows by about 0.6 percent per year from 2011 to 2040, led by the increased use of natural gas in electricity generation and, at least through 2020, the industrial sector. Growing production from tight shale keeps natural gas prices below their 2005-2008 levels through 2036. In the AEO2013 Reference case, the amount of liquid fuels made from natural gas (360 trillion Btu) is about three times the amount made from coal.

Increased vehicle fuel economy offsets growth in transportation activity, resulting in a decline in the petroleum and other liquids share of fuel use even as consumption of liquid biofuels increases. Biofuels, including biodiesel blended into diesel, E85, and ethanol blended into motor gasoline (up to 15 percent), account for 6 percent of all petroleum and other liquids consumption by energy content in 2040.

Coal consumption increases at an average rate of 0.1 percent per year from 2011 to 2040, remaining below 2011 levels until 2030. By the end of 2015, a total of 6.1 gigawatts of coal-fired power plant capacity currently under construction comes on line, and another 1.5 gigawatts is added after 2016 in the Reference case, including 0.9 gigawatts with carbon sequestration capability. Additional coal is consumed in the CTL process and to produce heat and power (including electricity generation at CTL plants).

Reliance on natural gas, natural gas liquids, and renewables rises as industrial energy use grows


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Much of the growth in industrial energy consumption in the AEO2013 Reference case is accounted for by natural gas use, which increases by 18 percent from 2011 and 2025 and by 6 percent from 2025 to 2040 (Figure 64). With domestic natural gas production increasing sharply in the projection, natural gas prices remain relatively low. The mix of industrial fuels changes relatively slowly, however, reflecting limited capability for fuel switching in most industries.

Consumption of renewable fuels in the industrial sector grows by 22 percent from 2011 to 2025 in the Reference case and by 37 percent from 2025 to 2040. The paper industry remains the predominant consumer of renewable energy (mostly biomass) in the industrial sector. Industrial consumption of natural gas liquids (NGL) increases by 21 percent from 2011 to 2025, followed by a 9-percent decline from 2025 to 2040. NGL are consumed predominantly as feedstocks in the bulk chemicals industry and for process heat in other industries. NGL use declines starting in 2025 as shipments of bulk chemicals begin to decline in the face of increased international competition. Industrial coal use drops by less than 1 percent from 2011 to 2040, and the use of petroleum and other liquid fuels increases by 6 percent.

Low natural gas prices and increased availability of biomass contribute to growth in the use of combined heat and power (CHP). A small decline in the purchased electricity share of industrial energy consumption (less than 1 percent from 2011 to 2040) reflects growth in CHP, as well as efficiency improvements resulting from rising standards for electric motors.

Sales of alternative fuel, fuel flexible, and hybrid vehicles sales rise


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LDVs that use diesel, other alternative fuels, hybrid-electric, or all-electric systems play a significant role in meeting more stringent GHG emissions and CAFE standards over the projection period. Sales of such vehicles increase from 20 percent of all new LDV sales in 2011 to 49 percent in 2040 in the AEO2013 Reference case.

Micro hybrid vehicles, defined here as conventional gasoline vehicles with micro hybrid systems that manage engine operation at idle, represent 28 percent of new LDV sales in 2040, the largest share among vehicles using diesel, alternative fuels, hybrid-electric, or all-electric systems.

Flex-fuel vehicles (FFVs), which can use blends of ethanol up to 85 percent, represent the second largest share of these vehicle types in 2040, at 7 percent of all new LDV sales. Current incentives for manufacturers selling FFVs, which are available in the form of fuel economy credits earned for CAFE compliance, expire in 2019. As a result, the FFV share of LDV sales rises over the next decade and then declines.

Sales of hybrid electric and all-electric vehicles that use stored electric energy for motive power grow considerably in the Reference case (Figure 73). Gasoline- and diesel-electric hybrid vehicles account for 6 percent of total LDV sales in 2040; and plug-in hybrid and all-electric vehicles account for 3 percent of total LDV sales, or 6 percent of sales of vehicles using diesel, alternative fuels, hybrid, or all-electric systems.

The diesel vehicle share of total sales remains constant over the projection period at about 4 percent of total LDV sales. Light-duty gaseous and fuel cell vehicles account for less than 1 percent of new vehicle sales throughout the projection period because of limited fueling infrastructure and high incremental vehicle costs.

Coal-fired plants continue to be the largest source of U.S. electricity generation


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Coal-fired power plants continue to be the largest source of electricity generation in the AEO2013 Reference case (Figure 76), but their market share declines significantly. From 42 percent in 2011, coal's share of total U.S. generation declines to 38 percent in 2025 and 35 percent in 2040. Approximately 15 percent of the coal-fired capacity active in 2011 is expected to be retired by 2040 in the Reference case, while only 4 percent of new generating capacity added is coal-fired. Existing coal-fired units that have undergone environmental equipment retrofits continue to operate throughout the projection.

Generation from natural gas increases by an average of 1.6 percent per year from 2011 to 2040, and its share of total generation grows from 24 percent in 2011 to 27 percent in 2025 and 30 percent in 2040. The relatively low cost of natural gas makes the dispatching of existing natural gas plants more competitive with coal plants and, in combination with relatively low capital costs, makes plants fueled by natural gas an alternative choice for new generation capacity.

Generation from renewable sources grows by 1.7 percent per year on average in the Reference case, and the share of total generation rises from 13 percent in 2011 to 16 percent in 2040. The nonhydropower share of total renewable generation increases from 38 percent in 2011 to 65 percent in 2040.

Generation from U.S. nuclear power plants increases by 0.5 percent per year on average from 2011 to 2040, with most of the growth between 2011 and 2025, but the share of total U.S. electricity generation declines from 19 percent in 2011 to 17 percent in 2040, as the growth in nuclear generation is outpaced by growth in generation using natural gas and renewables.

Most new capacity additions use natural gas and renewables


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Decisions to add capacity, and the choice of fuel for new capacity, depend on a number of factors [132]. With growing electricity demand and the retirement of 103 gigawatts of existing capacity, 340 gigawatts of new generating capacity [133] is added in the AEO2013 Reference case from 2012 to 2040 (Figure 77).

Natural gas-fired plants account for 63 percent of capacity additions from 2012 to 2040 in the Reference case, compared with 31 percent for renewables, 3 percent for coal, and 3 percent for nuclear. Escalating construction costs have the largest impact on capital-intensive technologies, which include nuclear, coal, and renewables. However, federal tax incentives, state energy programs, and rising prices for fossil fuels increase the competitiveness of renewable and nuclear capacity. Current federal and state environmental regulations also affect the use of fossil fuels, particularly coal. Uncertainty about future limits on GHG emissions and other possible environmental programs also reduces the competitiveness of coal-fired plants (reflected in the AEO2013 Reference case by adding 3 percentage points to the cost of capital for new coal-fired capacity).

Uncertainty about electricity demand growth and fuel prices also affects capacity planning. Total capacity additions from 2012 to 2040 range from 252 gigawatts in the Low Economic Growth case to 498 gigawatts in the High Economic Growth case. In the Low Oil and Gas Resource case, natural gas prices are higher than in the Reference case, and new natural gas-fired capacity added from 2012 to 2040 totals 152 gigawatts, or 42 percent of total additions. In the High Oil and Gas Resource case, delivered natural gas prices are lower than in the Reference case, and 311 gigawatts of new natural gas-fired capacity is added from 2012 to 2040, accounting for 82 percent of total new capacity

Additions to power plant capacity slow after 2012 but accelerate beyond 2023


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Typically, investments in electricity generation capacity have gone through boom-and-bust cycles. Periods of slower growth have been followed by strong growth in response to changing expectations for future electricity demand and fuel prices, as well as changes in the industry, such as restructuring (Figure 78). A construction boom in the early 2000s saw capacity additions averaging 35 gigawatts a year from 2000 to 2005. Since then, average annual builds have dropped to 18 gigawatts per year from 2006 to 2011.

In the AEO2013 Reference case, capacity additions from 2012 to 2040 total 340 gigawatts, including new plants built not only in the power sector but also by end-use generators. Annual additions in 2012 and 2013 remain relatively high, averaging 22 gigawatts per year. Of those early builds, 51 percent are renewable plants built to take advantage of federal tax incentives and to meet state renewable standards.

Annual builds drop significantly after 2013 and remain below 9 gigawatts per year until 2023. During that period, existing capacity is adequate to meet growth in demand in most regions, given the earlier construction boom and relatively slow growth in electricity demand after the economic recession. Between 2025 and 2040, average annual builds increase to 14 gigawatts per year, as excess capacity is depleted and the rate of total capacity growth is more consistent with electricity demand growth. About 68 percent of the capacity additions from 2025 to 2040 are natural gas-fired, given the higher construction costs for other capacity types and uncertainty about the prospects for future limits on GHG emissions.

Costs and regulatory uncertainties vary across options for new capacity


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Technology choices for new generating capacity are based largely on capital, operating, and transmission costs [134]. Coal, nuclear, and wind plants are capital-intensive (Figure 80), whereas operating (fuel) expenditures make up most of the costs for natural gas plants. Capital costs depend on such factors as equipment costs, interest rates, and cost recovery periods, which vary with technology. Fuel costs vary with operating efficiency, fuel price, and transportation costs.

In addition to considerations of levelized costs [135], some technologies and fuels receive subsidies, such as production or ITCs. Also, new plants must satisfy local and federal emissions standards and must be compatible with the utility's load profile.

Regulatory uncertainty also affects capacity planning. New coal plants may require carbon control and sequestration equipment, resulting in higher material, labor, and operating costs. Alternatively, coal plants without carbon controls could incur higher costs for siting and permitting. Because nuclear and renewable power plants (including wind plants) do not emit GHGs, their costs are not directly affected by regulatory uncertainty in this area.

Capital costs can decline over time as developers gain technology experience, with the largest rate of decline observed in new technologies. In the AEO2013 Reference case, the capital costs of new technologies are adjusted upward initially to compensate for the optimism inherent in early estimates of project costs, then decline as project developers gain experience. The decline continues at a progressively slower rate as more units are built. Operating efficiencies also are assumed to improve over time, resulting in reduced variable costs unless increases in fuel costs exceed the savings from efficiency gains.

Solar photovoltaics and wind dominate renewable capacity growth


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Renewable generating capacity accounts for nearly one-fifth of total generating capacity in 2040 in the AEO2013 Reference case. Nearly all renewable capacity additions over the period consist of nonhydropower capacity, which grows by more than 150 percent from 2011 to 2040 (Figure 82).

Solar generation capacity leads renewable capacity growth, increasing by more than 1,000 percent, or 46 gigawatts, from 2011 to 2040. Wind capacity follows closely, accounting for an additional 42 gigawatts of new renewable capacity by 2040. Nonetheless, wind continues to be the leading source of nonhydropower renewable capacity in 2040, given its relatively high initial capacity in 2011, after a decade of exponential growth resulting from the availability of production tax credits and other incentives. Although geothermal and dedicated biomass generation capacity do not increase on the same scale as wind and solar (contributing an additional 5 gigawatts and 7 gigawatts, respectively, over the projection period), biomass capacity nearly doubles and geothermal capacity more than triples over the same period.

Renewable capacity additions are supported by state RPS, the federal renewable fuels standard, and federal tax credits. Near-term growth is strong as developers build capacity to qualify for tax credits that expire at the end of 2012, 2013, and 2016. After 2016, capacity growth through 2030 is minimal, given relatively slower growth in electricity demand, low natural gas prices, and the stagnation or expiration of the state and federal policies that support renewable capacity additions. As the need for new generation capacity increases, however, and as renewables become increasingly cost-competitive in selected regions, growth in nonhydropower renewable generation capacity rebounds during the final decade of the Reference case projection from 2030 to 2040.

Solar, wind, and biomass lead growth in renewable generation, hydropower remains flat


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In the AEO2013 Reference case, renewable generation increases from 524 billion kilowatthours in 2011 to 858 billion kilowatthours in 2040, growing by an average of 1.7 percent per year (Figure 83). Wind, solar, and biomass account for most of the growth. The increase in wind-powered generation from 2011 to 2040, at 134 billion kilowatthours, or 2.6 percent per year, represents the largest absolute increase in renewable generation. Generation from solar energy grows by 92 billion kilowatthours over the same period, representing the highest annual average growth at 9.8 percent per year. Biomass increases by 95 billion kilowatthours over the projection period, for an average annual increase of 4.5 percent.

Hydropower production drops in 2012, from 325 billion kilowatthours in 2011, as existing plants are assumed to continue operating at their long-term average production levels. Even with little growth in capacity, hydropower remains the leading source of renewable generation throughout the projection. Although total wind capacity exceeds hydropower capacity in 2040, wind generators typically operate at much lower capacity factors, and their total generation is lower. Biomass is the third-largest source of renewable generation throughout the projection, with rapid growth particularly in the first decade of the period, reaching 102 billion kilowatthours in 2021 from 37 billion kilowatthours in 2011. The strong growth is a result primarily of increased penetration of co-firing technology in the electric power sector, encouraged by state-level policies and increasing cost-competitiveness with coal in parts of the Southeast.

State renewable portfolio standards increase renewable electricity generation


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Regional growth in nonhydroelectric renewable electricity generation is based largely on three factors: availability of renewable energy resources, cost competitiveness with fossil fuel technologies, and the existence of state RPS programs that require the use of renewable generation. After a period of robust RPS enactments in several states, the past few years have been relatively quiet in terms of state program expansions.

In the AEO2013 Reference case, the highest level of nonhydroelectric renewable generation in 2040, at 104 billion kilowatthours, occurs in the WECC California (CAMX) region (Figure 84), whose area approximates the California state boundaries. (For a map of the electricity regions and a definition of the acronyms, see Appendix F.) The three largest sources of nonhydro-electric renewable generation in 2040 in that region are geothermal, solar, and wind energy. The region encompassing the Pacific Northwest has the most renewable generation in the United States when hydroelectric is included, which is the source of most of the region's renewable electricity generation.

State RPS programs heavily influence the growth of solar capacity in the eastern states. A prime example is the Reliability First Corporation/East (RFCE) region, where 7.5 billion kilowatthours of electricity is generated from solar resources in 2040, mostly from end-use capacity. The RFCE region is not known for a strong solar resource base, and the projected installations are in response to the federal tax credits, state incentives, and solar energy requirements embedded in state RPS programs. The CAMX region has the highest total for solar generation in 2040 at 36 billion kilowatthours, including 10 billion kilowatthours of generation from end-use solar capacity.

Crude oil leads initial growth in liquids supply, next-generation liquids grow after 2020


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In the AEO2013 Reference case, total production of petroleum and other liquids grows rapidly in the first decade and then slows in the later years before 2040 (Figure 94). Liquids production increases from 10.4 million barrels per day in 2011 to 13.1 million barrels per day in 2019 primarily as a result of growth in onshore production of crude oil and NGL from tight oil formations (including shale plays).

After 2019, total U.S. production of petroleum and other liquids declines, to 12.0 million barrels per day in 2040, as crude oil production from tight oil plays levels off when less-productive or less-profitable areas are developed. The crude oil share of total domestic liquids production declines to 51 percent in 2040 from a peak of 59 percent in 2016. NGL production also declines, to 2.9 million barrels per day in 2040 from a peak of 3.2 million barrels per day in 2024.

Domestic ethanol production remains relatively flat throughout the projection, as consumption of motor gasoline decreases and the penetration of ethanol in the gasoline pool is slowed by the limited availability of FFVs and retrofitted filling stations. Total biofuel production increases by 0.4 million barrels per day in the projection, as drop-in fuels from biomass enter the market. Other emerging technologies capable of producing liquids—such as xTL [137], which includes CTL and GTL technologies—also become economical as more plants are built. In 2040, liquids production from xTL plants totals 0.3 million barrels per day. Investment in xTL technologies is slowed somewhat by high capital costs and the risk that xTL liquids production will not remain price-competitive with crude oil.

Energy-related carbon dioxide emissions remain below their 2005 level through 2040


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On average, energy-related CO2 emissions in the AEO2013 Reference case decline by 0.2 percent per year from 2005 to 2040, as compared with an average increase of 0.9 percent per year from 1980 to 2005. Reasons for the decline include: an expected slow and extended recovery from the recession of 2007-2009; growing use of renewable technologies and fuels; automobile efficiency improvements; slower growth in electricity demand; and more use of natural gas, which is less carbon-intensive than other fossil fuels. In the Reference case, energy-related CO2 emissions in 2020 are 9.1 percent below their 2005 level. Energy-related CO2 emissions total 5,691 million metric tons in 2040, or 308 million metric tons (5.1 percent) below their 2005 level (Figure 108).

Petroleum remains the largest source of U.S. energy-related CO2 emissions in the projection, but its share falls to 38 percent in 2040 from 44 percent in 2005. CO2 emissions from petroleum use, mainly in the transportation sector, are 448 million metric tons below their 2005 level in 2040.

Emissions from coal, the second-largest source of energy-related CO2 emissions, are 246 million metric tons below the 2005 level in 2040 in the Reference case, and their share of total energy-related CO2 emissions declines from 36 percent in 2005 to 34 percent in 2040. The natural gas share of total CO2 emissions increases from 20 percent in 2005 to 28 percent in 2040, as the use of natural gas to fuel electricity generation and industrial applications increases. Emissions levels are sensitive to assumptions about economic growth, fuel prices, technology costs, and policies that are explored in many of the alternative cases completed for AEO2013.

Renewables from Issues in Focus

1. No sunset and extended policies cases

Background

The AEO2013 Reference case is best described as a current laws and regulations case because it generally assumes that existing laws and regulations remain unchanged throughout the projection period, unless the legislation establishing them sets a sunset date or specifies how they will change. The Reference case often serves as a starting point for analysis of proposed changes in legislation or regulations. While the definition of the Reference case is relatively straightforward, there may be considerable interest in a variety of alternative cases that reflect updates or extensions of current laws and regulations. Areas of particular interest include:

  • Laws or regulations that have a history of being extended beyond their legislated sunset dates. Examples include the various tax credits for renewable fuels and technologies, which have been extended with or without modifications several times since their initial implementation.
  • Laws or regulations that call for periodic updating of initial specifications. Examples include appliance efficiency standards issued by the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) and CAFE and greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions standards for vehicles issued by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).
  • Laws or regulations that allow or require the appropriate regulatory agency to issue new or revised regulations under certain conditions. Examples include the numerous provisions of the Clean Air Act that require EPA to issue or revise regulations if it finds that an environmental quality target is not being met.

Two alternative cases are discussed in this section to provide some insight into the sensitivity of results to scenarios in which existing tax credits or other policies do not sunset. 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 might or should be changed. The cases examined here look only at federal laws or regulations and do not examine state laws or regulations.

Analysis cases

The two cases prepared—the No Sunset case and the Extended Policies case—incorporate all the assumptions from the AEO2013 Reference case, except as identified below. Changes from the Reference case assumptions include the following.

No Sunset case

Tax credits for renewable energy sources in the utility, industrial, and buildings sectors, or for energy-efficient equipment in the buildings sector, are assumed to be extended, including the following:

  • The PTC of 2.2 cents per kilowatthour and the 30-percent investment tax credit (ITC) available for wind, geothermal, biomass, hydroelectric, and landfill gas resources, assumed in the Reference case to expire at the end of 2012 for wind and 2013 for the other eligible resources, are extended indefinitely. On January 1, 2013, Congress passed a one-year extension of the PTC for wind and modified the qualification rules for all eligible technologies; these changes are not included in the AEO2013 Reference case, which was completed in December 2012, but they are discussed in "Effects of energy provisions in the American Taxpayer Relief Act of 2012".
  • For solar power investments, a 30-percent ITC that is scheduled to revert to a 10-percent credit in 2016 is, instead, assumed to be extended indefinitely at 30 percent.
  • In the buildings sector, personal tax credits for the purchase of renewable equipment, including photovoltaics (PV), are assumed to be extended indefinitely, as opposed to ending in 2016 as prescribed by current law. The business ITCs for commercial-sector generation technologies and geothermal heat pumps are assumed to be extended indefinitely, as opposed to expiring in 2016; and the business ITC for solar systems is assumed to remain at 30 percent instead of reverting to 10 percent. On January 1, 2013, legislation was enacted to reinstate tax credits for energy-efficient homes and selected residential appliances. The tax credits that had expired on December 31, 2011, are now extended through December 31, 2013. This change is not included in the Reference case.
  • In the industrial sector, the 10-percent ITC for combined heat and power (CHP) that ends in 2016 in the AEO2013 Reference case [65] is assumed to be preserved through 2040, the end of the projection period.

Extended Policies case

The Extended Policies case includes additional updates to federal equipment efficiency standards that were not considered in the Reference case or No Sunset case. Residential and commercial end-use technologies eligible for incentives in the No Sunset case are not subject to new standards. Other than those exceptions, the Extended Policies case adopts the same assumptions as the No Sunset case, plus the following:

  • Federal equipment efficiency standards are assumed to be updated at periodic intervals, consistent with the provisions in existing law, at levels based on ENERGY STAR specifications or on the Federal Energy Management Program purchasing guidelines for federal agencies, as applicable. Standards are also introduced for products that currently are not subject to federal efficiency standards.
  • Updated federal energy codes for residential and commercial buildings increase by 30 percent in 2020 compared to the 2006 International Energy Conservation Code in the residential sector and the American Society of Heating, Refrigerating and Air-Conditioning Engineers Building Energy Code 90.1-2004 in the commercial sector. Two subsequent rounds in 2023 and 2026 each add an assumed 5-percent incremental improvement to building energy codes. The equipment standards and building codes assumed for the Extended Policies case are meant to illustrate the potential effects of those policies on energy consumption for buildings. No cost-benefit analysis or evaluation of impacts on consumer welfare was completed in developing the assumptions. Likewise, no technical feasibility analysis was conducted, although standards were not allowed to exceed the "maximum technologically feasible" levels described in DOE's technical support documents.
  • The AEO2013 Reference, No Sunset, and Extended Policies cases include both the attribute-based CAFE standards for light-duty vehicles (LDVs) in model year (MY) 2011 and the joint attribute-based CAFE and vehicle GHG emissions standards for MY 2012 to MY 2025. The Reference and No Sunset cases assume that the CAFE standards are then held constant at MY 2025 levels in subsequent model years, although the fuel economy of new LDVs continues to rise modestly over time. The Extended Policies case modifies the assumption in the Reference and No Sunset cases, assuming continued increases in CAFE standards after MY 2025. CAFE standards for new LDVs are assumed to increase by an annual average rate of 1.4 percent.
  • In the industrial sector, the ITC for CHP is extended to cover all properties with CHP, no matter what the system size (instead of being limited to properties with systems smaller than 50 megawatts as in the Reference case [66]), which may include multiple units. Also, the ITC is modified to increase the eligible CHP unit cap to 25 megawatts from 15 megawatts. These extensions are consistent with previously proposed legislation.

Analysis results

The changes made to the Reference case assumptions in the No Sunset and Extended Policies cases generally lead to lower estimates for overall energy consumption, increased use of renewable fuels particularly for electricity generation and reduced energy-related carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions. Because the Extended Policies case includes most of the assumptions in the No Sunset case but adds others, the effects of the Extended Policies case tend to be greater than those in the No Sunset case—but not in all cases, as discussed below. Although these cases show lower energy prices, because the tax credits and end-use efficiency standards lead to lower energy demand and reduce the costs of renewable technologies, appliance purchase costs are also affected. In addition, the government receives lower tax revenues as consumers and businesses take advantage of the tax credits.

Energy consumption


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Total energy consumption in the No Sunset case is close to the level in the Reference case (Figure 13). Improvements in energy efficiency lead to reduced consumption in this case, but somewhat lower energy prices lead to relatively higher levels of consumption, partially offsetting the impact of improved efficiency. In 2040, total energy consumption in the Extended Policies case is 3.8 percent below the Reference case projection.

Buildings energy consumption

Renewable distributed generation (DG) technologies (PV systems and small wind turbines) provide much of the buildings-related energy savings in the No Sunset case. Extended tax credits in the No Sunset case spur increased adoption of renewable DG, leading to 61 billion kilowatthours of onsite electricity generation from DG systems in 2025, compared with 28 billion kilowatthours in the Reference case. Continued availability of the tax credits results in 137 billion kilowatthours of onsite electricity generation in 2040 in the No Sunset case—more than three times the amount of onsite electricity generated in 2040 in the Reference case. Similar adoption of renewable DG occurs in the Extended Policies case. With the additional efficiency gains from assumed future standards and more stringent building codes, delivered energy consumption for buildings is 3.9 percent (0.8 quadrillion British thermal units [Btu]) lower in 2025 and 8.0 percent (1.7 quadrillion Btu) lower in 2040 in the Extended Policies case than in the Reference case. The reduction in 2040 is more than seven times as large as the 1.1-percent (0.2 quadrillion Btu) reduction in the No Sunset case.

Electricity use shows the largest reduction in the two alternative cases compared to the Reference case. Building electricity consumption is 1.3 percent and 5.8 percent lower, respectively, in the No Sunset and Extended Policies cases in 2025 and 2.1 percent and 8.7 percent lower, respectively, in 2040 than in the Reference case, as onsite generation continues to increase and updated standards affect a greater share of the equipment stock in the Extended Policies case. Space heating and cooling are affected by the assumed standards and building codes, leading to significant savings in energy consumption for heating and cooling in the Extended Policies case. In 2040, delivered energy use for space heating in buildings is 9.6 percent lower, and energy use for space cooling is 20.3 percent lower, in the Extended Policies case than in the Reference case. In addition to improved standards and codes, extended tax credits for PV prompt increased adoption, offsetting some of the costs for purchased electricity for cooling. New standards for televisions and for personal computers and related equipment in the Extended Policies case lead to savings of 28.3 percent and 31.8 percent, respectively, in residential electricity use for this equipment in 2040 relative to the Reference case. Residential and commercial natural gas use declines from 8.1 quadrillion Btu in 2011 to 7.8 quadrillion Btu in 2025 and 7.2 quadrillion Btu in 2040 in the Extended Policies case, representing a 2.2-percent reduction in 2025 and a 8.5-percent reduction in 2040 relative to the Reference case.

Industrial energy consumption

The No Sunset case modifies the Reference case assumptions by extending the existing ITC for industrial CHP through 2040. The Extended Policies case starts from the No Sunset case and expands the credit to include industrial CHP systems of all sizes and raises the maximum credit that can be claimed from 15 megawatts of installed capacity to 25 megawatts. The changes result in 1.6 gigawatts of additional industrial CHP capacity in the No Sunset case compared with the Reference case in 2025 and 3.5 gigawatts of additional capacity in 2040. From 2025 through 2040, more CHP capacity is installed in the No Sunset case than in the Extended Policy case. CHP capacity is 0.3 gigawatts higher in the No Sunset Case than in the Extended Policies Case in 2025 and 1.2 gigawatts higher in 2040. Although the Extended Policies case includes a higher tax benefit for CHP than the No Sunset case, which by itself provides greater incentive to build CHP capacity, electricity prices are lower in the Extended Policies case than in the No Sunset case starting around 2020, and the difference increases over time. Lower electricity prices, all else equal, reduce the economic attractiveness of CHP. Also, the median size of industrial CHP units size is 10 megawatts [67], and many CHP systems are well within the 50-megawatt total system size, which means that relaxing the size constraint is not as strong an incentive for investment as is allowing the current tax credit for new CHP investments to continue after 2016.

Natural gas consumption averages 9.7 quadrillion Btu per year in the industrial sector from 2011 to 2040 in the No Sunset case—about 0.1 quadrillion Btu, or 0.9 percent, above the level in the Reference case. Over the course of the projection, the difference in natural gas consumption between the No Sunset case and the Reference case is small but increases steadily. In 2025, natural gas consumption in the No Sunset case is approximately 0.1 quadrillion Btu higher than in the Reference Case, and in 2040 it is 0.2 quadrillion Btu higher. Natural gas consumption in the Extended Policies case is virtually the same as in the No Sunset case through 2030. After 2030, refinery use of natural gas stabilizes in the Extended Policies case as continued increases in CAFE standards reduce demand for petroleum products.

Transportation energy consumption

The Extended Policies case differs from the Reference and No Sunset cases in assuming that the CAFE standards recently finalized by EPA and NHTSA for MY 2017 through 2025 (which call for a 4.1-percent annual average increase in fuel economy for new LDVs) are extended through 2040 with an assumed average annual increase of 1.4 percent. Sales of vehicles that do not rely solely on a gasoline internal combustion engines for both motive and accessory power (including those that use diesel, alternative fuels, or hybrid electric systems) play a substantial role in meeting the higher fuel economy standards after 2025, growing to almost 72 percent of new LDV sales in 2040, compared with about 49 percent in the Reference case.


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LDV energy consumption declines in the Reference case from 16.1 quadrillion Btu (8.7 million barrels per day) in 2011 to 14.0 quadrillion Btu (7.7 million barrels per day) in 2025 as a result of the increase in CAFE standards. Extension of the increases in CAFE standards in the Extended Policies case further reduces LDV energy consumption to 11.9 quadrillion Btu (6.5 million barrels per day) in 2040, or about 8 percent lower than in the Reference case. Petroleum and other liquid fuels consumption in the transportation sector is virtually identical through 2025 in the Reference and Extended Policies cases but declines in the Extended Policies case from 13.3 million barrels per day in 2025 to 12.3 million barrels per day in 2040, as compared with 13.0 million barrels per day in 2040 in the Reference case (Figure 14).

Renewable electricity generation

The extension of tax credits for renewables through 2040 would, over the long run, lead to more rapid growth in renewable generation than in the Reference case. When the renewable tax credits are extended without extending energy efficiency standards, as assumed in the No Sunset case, there is a significant increase in renewable generation in 2040 compared to the Reference case (Figure 15). Extending both renewable tax credits and energy efficiency standards in the Extended Policies case results in more modest growth in renewable generation, because renewable generation is a significant source of new generation to meet load growth, and enhanced energy efficiency standards tend to reduce overall electricity consumption and the need for new generation resources.


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The AEO2013 Reference case does not reflect the provisions of the American Taxpayer Relief Act of 2012 (P.L. 112-240) passed on January 1, 2013 [68], which extends the PTCs for renewable generation beyond what is included in the AEO2013 Reference case. While this legislation was completed too late for inclusion in the Reference case, EIA did complete an alternative case that examined key energy-related provisions of that legislation, the most important of which is the extension of the PTC for renewable generation. A brief summary of those results is presented in the box, "Effects of energy provisions in the American Taxpayer Relief Act of 2012."

Effects of energy provisions in the American Taxpayer Relief Act of 2012

On January 1, 2013, Congress passed the American Taxpayer Relief Act of 2012 (ATRA). The law, among other things, extended several provisions for tax credits to the energy sector. Although the law was passed too late to be incorporated in the Annual Energy Outlook 2013 (AEO2013) Reference case, a special case was prepared to analyze some of its key provisions, including the extension of tax credits for utility-scale renewables, residential energy efficiency improvements, and biofuels [69]. The analysis found that the most significant impact on energy markets came from extending the production tax credits (PTCs) for utility-scale wind, and from changing the PTC qualification criteria from being in service on December 31, 2013, to being under construction by December 31, 2013, for all eligible utility-scale technologies. Although there is some uncertainty about what criteria will be used to define "under construction," this analysis assumes that the effective length of the extension is equal to the typical project development time for a qualifying project. For wind, the effective extension is 3 years.


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Compared with the AEO2013 Reference case, ATRA increases renewable generation, primarily from wind (Figure 16). Renewable generation in 2040 is about 2 percent higher in the ATRA case than in the Reference case, with the greatest growth occurring in the near term. In 2016, renewable generation in the ATRA case exceeds that in the Reference case by nearly 9 percent. Almost all the increase comes from wind generation, which in 2016 is about 34 percent higher in the ATRA case than in the Reference case. In 2040, however, wind generation is only 17 percent higher than projected in the Reference case. These results indicate that, while the short-term extension does result in additional wind generation capacity, some builds that otherwise would occur later in the projection period are moved up in time to take advantage of the extended tax credit. The increase in wind generation partially displaces other forms of generation in the Reference case, both renewable and nonrenewable—particularly solar, biomass, coal, and natural gas.

ATRA does not have significant effects on electricity or delivered natural gas prices and generally does not result in a difference of more than 1 percent either above or below Reference case prices. In the longer term (beyond 2020), electricity and natural gas prices generally both are slightly lower in the ATRA case, as increased wind capacity reduces variable fuel costs in the power sector and reduces the demand for natural gas.

Other ATRA provisions analyzed had minimal impact on all energy measures, primarily limited to short-term reductions in renewable fuel prices and a one-year window for residential customers to get tax credits for certain efficiency expenditures. Provisions of the act not addressed in this analysis are likely to have only modest impacts because of their limited scale, scope, and timing.

In the No Sunset and Extended Policies cases, renewable generation more than doubles from 2011 to 2040, as compared with a 64-percent increase in the Reference case. In 2040, the share of total electricity generation accounted for by renewables is between 22 and 23 percent in both the No Sunset and Extended Policies cases, as compared with 16 percent in the Reference case.

Construction of wind-generation units slows considerably in the Reference case from recent construction rates, following the assumed expiration of the tax credit for wind power in 2012. The combination of slow growth in electricity demand, little impact from state-level renewable generation requirements, and low prices for competing fuels like natural gas keeps growth relatively low until around 2025, when load growth finally catches up with installed capacity, and natural gas prices increase to a level at which wind is a cost-competitive option in some regions. Extending the PTC for wind spurs a brief surge in near-term development by 2014, but the factors that limit development through 2025 in the Reference case still largely apply, and growth from 2015 to about 2025 is slow, in spite of the availability of tax credits during the 10-year period. When the market picks up again after 2025, availability of the tax credits spurs additional wind development over Reference case levels. Wind generation in the No Sunset case is about 27 percent higher than in the Reference case in 2025 and 86 percent higher in 2040.

In the near term, the continuation of tax credits for solar generation results in a continuation of recent growth trends for this resource. The solar tax credits are assumed to expire in 2016 in the Reference case, after which the growth of solar generation slows significantly. Eventually, economic conditions become favorable for utility-scale solar without the federal tax credits, and the growth rate picks up substantially after 2025. With the extension of the ITC, growth continues throughout the projection period. Solar generation in the No Sunset case in 2040 is more than 30 times the 2011 level and more than twice the level in 2040 in the Reference case.

The impacts of the tax credit extensions on geothermal and biomass generation are mixed. Although the tax credits do apply to both geothermal and biomass resources, the structure of the tax credits, along with other market dynamics, makes wind and solar projects relatively more attractive. Over most of the projection period, geothermal and biomass generation are lower with the tax credits available than in the Reference case. In 2040, generation from both resources in the No Sunset and Extended Policies cases is less than 10 percent below the Reference case levels. However, generation growth lags significantly through 2020 with the tax credit extensions, and generation in 2020 from both resources is about 20 percent lower in the No Sunset and Extended Policy cases than in the Reference case.


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After 2025, renewable generation in the No Sunset and Extended Policies cases starts to increase more rapidly than in the Reference case. As a result, generation from nuclear and fossil fuels is below Reference case levels. Natural gas represents the largest source of displaced generation. In 2040, electricity generation from natural gas is 13 percent lower in the No Sunset case and 16 percent lower in the Extended Policies case than in the Reference case (Figure 17).

Energy-related CO2 emissions

In the No Sunset and Extended Policies cases, lower overall fossil energy use leads to lower levels of energy-related CO2 emissions than in the Reference case. In the Extended Policies case, the emissions reduction is larger than in the No Sunset case. From 2011 to 2040, energy-related CO2 emissions are reduced by a cumulative total of 4.6 billion metric tons (a 2.8-percent reduction over the period) in the Extended Policies case relative to the Reference case projection, as compared with 1.7 billion metric tons (a 1.0-percent reduction over the period) in the No Sunset case (Figure 18). The increase in fuel economy standards assumed for new LDVs in the Extended Policies case is responsible for 11.4 percent of the total cumulative reduction in CO2 emissions from 2011 to 2040 in comparison with the Reference case. The balance of the reduction in CO2 emissions is a result of greater improvement in appliance efficiencies and increased penetration of renewable electricity generation.


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Most of the emissions reductions in the No Sunset case result from increases in renewable electricity generation. Consistent with current EIA conventions and EPA practice, emissions associated with the combustion of biomass for electricity generation are not counted, because they are assumed to be balanced by carbon absorption when the plant feedstock is grown. Relatively small incremental reductions in emissions are attributable to renewables in the Extended Policies case, mainly because electricity demand is lower than in the Reference case, reducing the consumption of all fuels used for generation, including biomass.

In both the No Sunset and Extended Policies cases, water heating, space cooling, and space heating together account for most of the emissions reductions from Reference case levels in the buildings sector. In the industrial sector, the Extended Policies case projects reduced emissions as a result of decreases in electricity purchases and petroleum use.

Energy prices and tax credit payments


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With lower levels of fossil energy use and more consumption of renewable fuels stimulated by tax credits in the No Sunset and Extended Policies cases, energy prices are lower than in the Reference case. In 2040, average delivered natural gas prices (2011 dollars) are $0.29 per million Btu (2.7 percent) and $0.59 per million Btu (5.4 percent) lower in the No Sunset and Extended Policies cases, respectively, than in the Reference case (Figure 19), and electricity prices are 3.9 percent and 6.3 percent lower than in the Reference case (Figure 20).


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The reductions in energy consumption and CO2 emissions in the Extended Policies case are accompanied by higher equipment costs for consumers and revenue reductions for the U.S. government. From 2013 to 2040, residential and commercial consumers spend, on average, an additional $20 billion per year (2011 dollars) for newly purchased end-use equipment, DG systems, and residential building shell improvements in the Extended Policies case as compared with the Reference case. On the other hand, residential and commercial customers save an average of $30 billion per year on energy purchases.

Tax credits paid to consumers in the buildings sector (or, from the government's perspective, reduced revenue) in the No Sunset case average $4 billion (2011 dollars) more per year than in the Reference case, which assumes that existing tax credits expire as currently scheduled, mostly by 2016.

The largest response to federal tax incentives for new renewable generation is seen in the No Sunset case, with extension of the PTC and the 30-percent ITC resulting in annual average reductions in government tax revenues of approximately $2.3 billion from 2011 to 2040, as compared with $650 million per year in the Reference case.

3. U.S. reliance on imported liquid fuels in alternative scenarios

Liquid fuels [71] play a vital role in the U.S. energy system and economy, and access to affordable liquid fuels has contributed to the nation's economic prosperity. However, the extent of U.S. reliance on imported oil has often been raised as a matter of concern over the past 40 years. U.S. net imports of petroleum and other liquid fuels as a share of consumption have been one of the most watched indicators in national and global energy analyses. After rising steadily from 1950 to 1977, when it reached 47 percent by the most comprehensive measure, U.S. net import dependence declined to 27 percent in 1985. Between 1985 and 2005, net imports of liquid fuels as a share of consumption again rose, reaching 60 percent in 2005. Since that time, however, the trend toward growing U.S. dependence on liquid fuels imports has again reversed, with the net import share falling to an estimated 41 percent in 2012, and with EIA projecting further significant declines in 2013 and 2014. The decline in net import dependence since 2005 has resulted from several disparate factors, and continued changes in those and other factors will determine how this indicator evolves in the future. Key questions include:

  • What are the key determinants of U.S. liquid fuels supply and demand?
  • Will the supply and demand trends that have reduced dependence on net imports since 2005 intensify or abate?
  • What supply and demand developments could yield an outcome in which the United States is no longer a net importer of liquid fuels?

This discussion considers potential changes to the U.S. energy system that are inherently speculative and should be viewed as what-if cases. The four cases that are discussed include two cases (Low Oil and Gas Resources and High Oil and Gas Resources) in which only the supply assumptions are varied, and two cases (Low/No Net Imports and High Net Imports) in which both supply and demand assumptions change. The changes in these cases generate wide variation from the liquid fuels import dependence values seen in the AEO2013 Reference case, but they should not be viewed as spanning the range of possible outcomes. Cases in which both supply and demand assumptions are modified show the greatest changes. In the Low/No Net Imports case, the United States ceases to be a net liquid fuels importer in the mid-2030s, and by 2040 U.S. net exports are 8 percent of total U.S. liquid fuel production. In contrast, in the High Net Imports case, net petroleum import dependence is above 44 percent in 2040, higher than the Reference case level of 37 percent but still well below the 60-percent level seen in 2005. Cases in which only supply assumptions are varied show intermediate levels of change in liquid fuels import dependence.

As the case names suggest, the Low Oil and Gas Resource case incorporates less-optimistic oil and natural gas resource assumptions than those in the Reference case, while the High Oil and Gas Resource case does the opposite. The other two cases combine different oil and natural gas resource assumptions with changes in assumptions that influence the demands for liquid fuels. The Low/No Net Imports case simulates an environment in which U.S. energy production grows rapidly while domestic consumption of liquid fuels declines. Conversely, the High Net Imports case combines the Low Oil and Gas Resource case assumptions with demand-related assumptions including slower improvements in vehicle efficiency, higher levels of vehicle miles traveled (VMT) relative to the Reference case, and reduced use of alternative transportation fuels.

Resource assumptions

A key contributing factor to the recent decline in net import dependence has been the rapid growth of U.S. oil production from tight onshore formations, which has followed closely after the rapid growth of natural gas production from similar types of resources. Projections of future production trends inevitably reflect many uncertainties regarding the actual level of resources available, the difficulty in extracting them, and the evolution of the technologies (and associated costs) used to recover them. To represent these uncertainties, the assumptions used in the High and Low Oil and Gas Resource cases represent significant deviations from the Reference case.

Estimates of technically recoverable resources from the rapidly developing tight oil formations are particularly uncertain and change over time as new information is gained through drilling, production, and technology experimentation. Over the past decade, as more tight and shale formations have gone into commercial production, estimates of technically and economically recoverable resources have generally increased. Technically recoverable resource estimates, however, embody many assumptions that might not prove to be true over the long term, over the entire range of tight or shale formations, or even within particular formations. For example, the tight oil resource estimates in the Reference case assume that production rates achieved in a limited portion of a given formation are representative of the entire formation, even though neighboring tight oil well production rates can vary widely. Any specific tight or shale formation can vary significantly across the formation with respect to relevant characteristics [72], resulting in widely varying rates of well production. The application of refinements to current technologies, as well as new technological advancements, can also have a significant but highly uncertain impact on the recoverability of tight and shale crude oil.

As shown in Table 5, the High and Low Oil and Gas Resource cases were developed with alternative crude oil and natural gas resource assumptions giving higher and lower technically recoverable resources than assumed in the Reference case. While these cases do not represent upper and lower bounds on future domestic oil and natural gas supply, they allow for an examination of the potential effects of higher and lower domestic supply on energy demand, imports, and prices.

The Low Oil and Gas Resource case only reflects the uncertainty around tight oil and shale gas resources. The resource estimates in the Reference case are based on crude oil and natural gas production rates achieved in a limited portion of the tight or shale formation and are assumed to be representative of the entire formation. However, the variability in formation characteristics described earlier can also affect the estimated ultimate recovery (EUR) of wells. For the Low Oil and Gas Resource case, the EUR per tight and shale well is assumed to be 50 percent lower than in the AEO2013 Reference case. All other resource assumptions are unchanged from the Reference case.

The High Oil and Gas Resource case reflects a broad-based increase in crude oil and natural gas resources. Optimism regarding increased supply has been buoyed by recent advances in crude oil and natural gas production that resulted in an unprecedented annual increase in U.S. crude oil production in 2012. The AEO2013 Reference case shows continued near-term production growth followed by a decline in U.S. production after 2020. The High Oil and Gas Resource case presents a scenario in which U.S. crude oil production continues to expand after about 2020 due to assumed higher technically recoverable tight oil resources, as well as undiscovered resources in Alaska and the offshore Lower 48 states. In addition, the maximum annual penetration rate for GTL technology is doubled compared to the Reference case.

The tight and shale resources are increased by changing both the EUR per well and the well spacing. A doubling in tight and shale well EUR, when assumed to occur through raising the production type curves [73] across the board, is responsible for the significantly faster increases in production and is also a contributing factor in avoiding the production decline during the projection period. This assumption change is quite optimistic and may alternatively be considered as a proxy for other changes or combinations of changes that have yet to be observed.

Although initial production rates have increased over the past few years, it is too early to conclude that overall EURs have increased and will continue to increase. Instead, producers may just be recovering the resource more quickly, resulting in a more dramatic decline in production later, with little impact on the well's overall EUR. The decreased well spacing reflects less the capability to drill wells closer together (i.e., avoid interference) and instead more the discovery of and production from other shale plays that are not yet in commercial development. These may either be stacked in the same formation or reflect future technological innovations that would bring into production plays that are otherwise not amenable to current hydraulic fracturing technology.

Other resources also are assumed to contribute to supply, as technological or other unforeseen changes improve their prospects. The resource assumptions for the offshore Lower 48 states in the High Oil and Gas Resource case reflect the possibility that resources may be substantially higher than assumed in the Reference case. Resource estimates for most of the U.S. Outer Continental Shelf are uncertain, particularly for resources in undeveloped regions where there has been little or no exploration and development activity, and where modern seismic survey data are lacking [74]. The increase in crude oil resources in Alaska reflects the possibility that there may be more crude oil on the North Slope, including tight oil. It does not, however, reflect an opening of the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge to exploration or production activity. Finally, modest production from kerogen (oil shale) resources, which remains below 140,000 barrels per day through the 2040 projection horizon, is included in the High Oil and Gas Resource case.

Demand assumptions

Reductions in demand for liquid fuels in some uses, such as personal transportation and home heating, coupled with slow growth in other applications, have been another key contributing factor in the decline of the nation's net dependence on imported liquid fuels since 2005. As with supply assumptions, the key analytic assumptions that drive future trends in liquid fuels demand in EIA's projections are subject to considerable uncertainty. The most important assumptions affecting future demand for liquids fuels include:

  • The future level of activities that use liquid fuels, such as VMT
  • The future efficiency of equipment that uses liquid fuels, such as automobiles, trucks, and aircraft
  • The future extent of fuel switching that replaces liquid fuels with other fuel types, such as liquefied natural gas (LNG), biofuels, or electricity.

Two alternative sets of demand assumptions that lead to higher or lower demand for liquid fuels than in the AEO2013 Reference case are outlined below. The two alternative scenarios are then applied in conjunction with the High and Low Oil and Gas Resource cases to develop the Low/No Net Import and High Net Import cases.

Vehicle miles traveled

Projected fuel use by LDVs is directly proportional to light-duty VMT, which can be influenced by policy, but it is driven primarily by market factors, demography, and consumer preferences. All else being equal, VMT is more likely to grow when the driving-age population is growing, economic activity is robust, and fuel prices are moderate. For example, there is a strong linkage between economic activity, employment, and commuting. In addition, there is a correlation between income and discretionary travel that reinforces the economy-VMT link. Turning to demography, factors such as the population level, age distribution, and household composition are perhaps most important for VMT. For example, lower immigration would lead to a smaller U.S. population over time, lowering VMT. The aging of the U.S. population continues and will also have long-term effects on VMT trends, as older drivers do not behave in the same ways as younger or middle-aged drivers. At times, the factors that influence VMT intertwine in ways that change long-term trends in U.S. driving and fuel consumption. For example, the increase in two-income families that occurred beginning in the 1970s created a surge in VMT that involved both economic activity and demographics.

Alternative modes of travel affect VMT to the degree that the population substitutes other travel services for personal LDVs. The level of change is related to the cost, convenience, and geographic extent of mass transit, rail, biking, and pedestrian travel service options. Car-sharing services, which have grown in popularity in recent years, could discourage personal vehicle VMT by putting more of the cost of incremental vehicle use on the margin when compared with traditional vehicle ownership or leasing, where many of the major costs of vehicle use are incurred at the time a vehicle is acquired, registered, and insured. Improvements in the fuel efficiency of vehicles, however, could increase VMT by lowering the marginal costs of driving. In recent analyses supporting the promulgation of new final fuel economy and GHG standards for LDVs in MY 2017 through 2025, NHTSA and EPA applied a 10-percent rebound in travel to reflect the lower fueling costs of more efficient vehicles [75]. Both higher and lower values for the rebound have been advanced by various analysts [76].

Other types of technological change also can affect projected VMT growth. E-commerce, telework, and social media can supplant (or complement) personal vehicle use. Some analysts have suggested an association between rising interest in social media and a decline in the rates at which driving-age youth secure driver licenses; however, that decline also could be related to recent weakness in the economy.

Many of the factors reviewed above were also addressed in the August 2012 National Petroleum Council Future Transportation Fuels study [77]. That study considered numerous specific research efforts, as well as available summaries of the literature on VMT, and concluded that the economic and demographic factors remain dominant. The VMT scenario adopted for most of the analysis in that study reflected declining compound annual growth rates of VMT over time, with the growth rate in VMT, which was 3.1 percent in the 1971-1995 and 2.0 percent in the 1996-2007 periods, falling to under 1 percent after 2035.

In the AEO2013 Reference case, the compound annual rate of growth in light-duty VMT over the period from 2011 to 2040 is 1.2 percent—well below the historical record through 2005 but significantly higher than the average annual light-duty VMT growth rate of 0.7 percent from 2005 through 2011. The 2005-2011 period was marked by generally poor economic performance, high unemployment, and high liquid fuel prices, all of which likely contributed to lower VMT growth. While VMT growth rates are expected to rise as the economy and employment levels improve, it remains to be seen to what extent such effects might be counteracted or reinforced by some of the other market factors identified above.

The low demand scenario used in the Low/No Net Imports case holds the growth rate of light-duty VMT over the 2011-2040 period at 0.2 percent per year, lower than its 2005-2011 growth rate. The application of a lower growth rate over a 29-year projection period results in total light-duty VMT 26 percent below the Reference case level in 2040. With population growth at 0.9 percent per year, this implies a decline of 0.7 percent per year in VMT per capita. VMT per licensed driver, which increases by 0.3 percent per year in the AEO2013 Reference case, declines at a rate of 0.8 percent per year in the Low/No Net Imports case. In the High Net Imports case, which assumes more robust demand than in the Reference case, the VMT projection remains close to that in the Reference case, with higher demand resulting from other factors.

Vehicle efficiencies

Turning to vehicle efficiency, the rising fuel economy of new LDVs already has contributed to recent trends in liquid fuels use. Looking forward, the EPA and NHTSA have established joint CAFE and GHG emissions standards through MY 2025. The new CAFE standards result in a fuel economy, measured as a program compliance value, of 47.3 mpg for new LDVs in 2025, based on the distribution of production of passenger cars and light trucks by footprint in AEO2013. The EPA and NHTSA also have established a fuel efficiency and GHG emissions program for medium- and heavy-duty vehicles for MY 2014-18. The fuel consumption standards for MY 2014-15 set by NHTSA are voluntary, while the standards for MY 2016 and beyond are mandatory, except those for diesel engines, which are mandatory starting in 2017.

The AEO2013 Reference case does not consider any possible reduction in fuel economy standards resulting from the scheduled midterm review of the CAFE standards for MY 2023-25, or for any increase in fuel economy standards that may be put in place for model years beyond 2025. The low demand scenario in this article adopts the assumption that post-2025 LDV CAFE standards increase at an average annual rate of 1.4 percent, the same assumption made in the AEO2013 Extended Policies case. In contrast, the high demand scenario assumes some reduction in current CAFE standards following the scheduled midterm review.

Fuel switching

In the AEO2013 Reference case, fuel switching to natural gas in the form of compressed natural gas (CNG) and LNG already is projected to achieve significant penetration of natural gas as a fuel for heavy-duty trucks. In the Reference case, natural gas use in heavy-duty vehicles increases to 1 trillion cubic feet per year in 2040, displacing 0.5 million barrels per day of diesel use. The use of natural gas in the Reference case is economically driven. Even after the substantial costs of liquefaction or compression, fuel costs for LNG or CNG are expected to be well below the projected cost of diesel fuel on an energy-equivalent basis. The fuel cost advantage is expected to be large enough in the view of a significant number of operators to offset the considerably higher acquisition costs of vehicles equipped to use these fuels, in addition to offsetting other disadvantages, such as reduced maximum range without refueling, a lower number of refueling locations, reduced volume capacity in certain applications, and an uncertain resale market for vehicles using alternative fuels. For purposes of the low demand scenario for liquid fuels, factors limiting the use of natural gas in heavy-duty vehicles are assumed to be less significant, allowing for higher rates of market penetration.

Natural gas could also prove to be an attractive fuel in other transportation applications. The use of LNG as a fuel for rail transport, which had earlier been considered for environmental reasons, is now under active consideration by major U.S. railroads for economic reasons, motivated by the same gap between the cost of diesel fuel and LNG now and over the projection period. Because all modern railroad locomotives use electric motors to drive their wheels, a switch from diesel to LNG would entail the use of a different fuel to drive the onboard electric generation system. Retrofits have been demonstrated, but new locomotives with generating units specifically optimized for LNG could prove to be more attractive. Because railroads already maintain their own on-system refueling infrastructure, they may be less subject to the concern that truckers considering a switch to alternative fuel vehicles might have regarding the risks that natural gas refueling systems they require would not actually be built. The high concentration of ownership in the U.S. railroad industry could also facilitate a rapid switch toward LNG refueling, with the associated transition to new equipment, under the right circumstances because there are only a few owners making the decisions.

Marine operators have traditionally relied on oil-based fuels, with large oceangoing vessels almost exclusively fueled with heavy high-sulfur fuel oil that typically sells at a discount relative to other petroleum products. Under the International Maritime Organization's International Convention on the Prevention of Pollution from Ships agreement (MARPOL Annex VI) [78], the use of heavy high-sulfur fuel oil in international shipping started being phased out for environmental reasons in 2010. Although LNG is one possible option, there are many cost and logistical challenges, including the high cost of retrofits, the long lifetime of existing vessels, and relatively low utilization rates for many routes that will have adverse impacts on the economics of marine LNG refueling infrastructure. Unlike the heavy-duty truck market, there has not yet been an LNG-fueled product offered for general use by manufacturers of marine or rail equipment, making cost and performance comparisons inherently speculative.

In addition to the demand assumptions discussed above, other assumption changes were made to capture potential shifts in vehicle cost and consumer preference for LDVs powered by alternative fuels. In the Low/No Net Imports case, the costs of efficiency technologies and battery technologies were lowered, and the market penetration of E85 fuel was increased, relative to the Reference case levels. With regard to E85, assumptions about consumer preference for flex-fuel vehicles were altered to allow for increases in vehicle sales and E85 demand, leading to greater use of domestically-produced biofuel than projected in the Reference case.

Table 6 summarizes the demand-side assumptions in the alternative demand scenarios for liquid fuels. As with the supply assumptions, the assumptions used in the higher and lower demand cases represent substantial deviations from the AEO2013 Reference case, and they might instead be realized in terms of other, as-yet-unforeseen developments in technology, economics, or policy.

Results

The cases considered show how the future share of net imports in total U.S. liquid fuel use varies with changes in assumptions about the key factors that drive domestic supply and demand for liquid fuels (Figure 24). Some of the assumptions in the Low/No Net imports case, such as assumed increases in LDV fuel economy after 2025 and access to offshore resources, could be influenced by future energy policies. However, other assumptions in this case, such as the greater availability of onshore technically recoverable oil and natural gas resources, depend on geological outcomes that cannot be influenced by policy measures; and economic, consumer, or technological factors may likewise be unaffected or only slightly affected by policy measures.

Net imports and prices

In the Low/No Net Imports case, U.S. net imports of liquid fuels are eliminated in the mid-2030s, and the United States becomes a modest net exporter of those fuels by 2040. As discussed above, this case combines optimistic assumptions about the availability of domestic oil and natural gas resources with assumptions that lower demand for liquid fuels, including a decline in VMT per capita, increased switching to natural gas fuels for transportation (including heavy-duty trucks, rail, boats, and ships), continued significant improvements in the fuel efficiency of new vehicles beyond 2025, wider availability and lower costs of electric battery technologies, and greater market penetration of biofuels and other nonpetroleum liquids. Although other combinations of assumptions, or unforeseen technology breakthroughs, might produce a comparable outcome, the assumptions in the Low/No Net Imports case illustrate the magnitude and type of changes that would be required for the United States to end its reliance on net imports of liquid fuels, which began in 1946 and has continued to the present day. Moreover, regardless of how much the United States is able to reduce its reliance on imported liquids, it will not be entirely insulated from price shocks that affect the global oil market [79].


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As shown in Figure 24, the supply assumptions of the High Oil and Gas Resource case alone result in a decline in net import dependence to 7 percent in 2040, compared to 37 percent in the Reference case, with U.S. crude oil production rising to 10.2 million barrels per day in 2040, or 4.1 million barrels per day above the Reference case level. Tight oil production accounts for more than 77 percent (or 3 million barrels per day) of the difference in production between the two cases. Production of NGL in the United States also exceeds the Reference case level.

As a result of higher U.S. liquid fuels production, Brent crude oil prices in the High Oil and Gas Resource case are lower than in the Reference case, which also lowers motor gasoline and diesel prices to the transportation sector, encouraging greater consumption and partially dampening the projected decline in net dependence on liquid fuel imports. In the High Oil and Gas Resource case, the reduction in motor fuels prices increases fuel consumption in 2040 by 350 thousand barrels per day in the transportation sector and 230 thousand barrels per day in the industrial sector, which accounts for nearly all of the increase in total U.S. liquid fuels consumption (600 thousand barrels per day) relative to the Reference case total in 2040.

Global market, the economy, and refining

The addition of assumptions that slow the growth of demand for liquid fuels in the Low/No Net Imports case more than offsets the increase in demand that results from lower liquid fuel prices, so that total liquid fuels consumption in 2040 is 2.1 million barrels per day lower than projected in the Reference case. The combination of high crude oil and natural gas resources and lower demand for liquid fuels pushes Brent crude oil prices to $29 per barrel below the Reference case level in 2040. However, given the cumulative impact of factors that tend to raise world oil prices in real terms over the projection period, inflation-adjusted crude oil prices in the Low/No Net Imports case are still above today's price level.

One of the most uncertain aspects of the analysis concerns the effect on the global market for liquid fuels, which is highly integrated. Although the analysis reflects price effects that are based on the relative scale of the changes in U.S. domestic supply and net U.S. imports of liquid fuels within the overall international crude oil market, strategic choices made by the leading oil-exporting countries could result in price and quantity effects that differ significantly from those presented here. Moreover, regardless of how much the United States reduces its reliance on imported liquids, consumer prices will not be insulated from global oil prices if current policies and regulations remain in effect and world markets for crude oil streams of sulfur quality remain closely aligned absent transportation bottlenecks [80].

Although the focus is mainly on liquid fuels markets, the more optimistic resource assumptions in the High Oil and Gas Resource case also lead to more natural gas production. The higher productivity of shale and tight gas wells puts downward pressure on natural gas prices and thus encourages increased domestic consumption of natural gas (38 trillion cubic feet in the High Oil and Gas Resource case, compared to 30 trillion cubic feet in the Reference case in 2040) and higher net exports (both pipeline and LNG) of natural gas. As a result, projected domestic natural gas production in 2040 is considerably higher in the High Oil and Gas Resource case (45 trillion cubic feet) than in the Reference case (33 trillion cubic feet).

The Low Oil and Gas Resource case illustrates the implications of an outcome in which U.S. oil and gas resources turn out to be smaller than expected in the Reference case. In this case, domestic crude oil production peaks in 2016 at 6.9 million barrels per day, declines to 5.9 million barrels per day in 2028, and remains relatively flat (between 5.8 and 6.0 million barrels per day) through 2040. The lower well productivity in this case puts upward pressure on natural gas prices, resulting in lower natural gas consumption and production. In 2040, U.S. natural gas production is 27 trillion cubic feet in the Low Oil and Gas Resource case, compared with 33 trillion cubic feet in the Reference case.

These alternative cases may also have significant implications for the broader economy. Liquid fuels provide power and raw materials (feedstocks) for a substantial portion of the U.S. economy, and the macroeconomic impacts of both the High Oil and Gas Resource case and the Low/No Net Imports case suggest that significant economic benefits would accrue if some version of those futures were realized (see discussion of NGL later in "Issues in focus"). This is in spite of the fact that petroleum remains a global market in each of the scenarios, which limits the price impacts for gasoline, diesel, and other petroleum-derived fuels. In the High Oil and Gas Resource case, increasing energy production has immediate benefits for the economy. U.S. industries produce more goods with 12 percent lower energy costs in 2025 and 15 percent lower energy costs in 2040. Consumers see roughly 10 percent lower energy prices in 2025, and 13 percent lower energy prices in 2040, as compared with the Reference case. Cheaper energy allows the economy to expand further, with real GDP attaining levels that are on average about 1 percent above those in the Reference case from 2025 through 2040, including growth in both aggregate consumption and investment.

The alternative cases also imply substantial changes in the future operations of U.S. petroleum refineries, as is particularly evident in the Low/No Net Imports case. Drastically reduced product consumption and increased nonpetroleum sources of transportation fuels, taken in isolation, would tend to reduce utilization of U.S. refineries. The combination of higher domestic crude supply and reduced crude runs in the refining sector would sharply reduce or eliminate crude oil imports and could potentially create market pressure for crude oil exports to balance crude supply with refinery runs. However, under current laws and regulations, crude exports require licenses that have not been issued except in circumstances involving exports to Canada or exports of limited quantities of specific crude streams, such as California heavy oil [81].

Rather than assuming a change in current policies toward crude oil exports, and recognizing the high efficiency and low operating costs of U.S. refineries relative to global competitors in the refining sector, exports of petroleum products, which are not subject to export licensing requirements, rise significantly to avoid the uneconomical unloading of efficient U.S. refinery capacity, continuing a trend that has already become evident over the past several years. Product exports rise until the incremental refining value of crude oil processed is equivalent to the cost of crude imports. To balance the rest of the world as a result of increased U.S. product exports, it is assumed that the increased volumes of U.S. liquid fuel product exports would result in a decrease in the volume of the rest of the world's crude runs, and that world consumption, net of U.S. exports, would also be reduced by an amount necessary to keep demand and supply volumes in balance.

Projected carbon dioxide emissions


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Total U.S. CO2 emissions show the impacts of changing fuel prices through all the sectors of the economy. In the High Oil and Gas Resource case, the availability of more natural gas at lower prices encourages the electric power sector to increase its reliance on natural gas for electricity generation. Coal is the most affected, with coal displaced over the first part of the projection, and new renewable generation sources also affected after 2030 or so, resulting in projected CO2 emissions in the High Oil and Gas Resource case that exceed those in the Reference case after 2035 (Figure 25). With less-plentiful and more-expensive natural gas in the Low Oil and Gas Resource and High Net Imports cases, the reverse is true, with fewer coal retirements leading to higher CO2 emissions than in the Reference case early in the projection period. Later in the projection, however, the electric power sector turns first to renewable technologies earlier in the Low Oil and Gas Resource and High Net Imports cases, and after 2030 invests in more nuclear plants, reducing CO2 emissions from the levels projected in the Reference case. In the Low Oil and Gas Resource case, CO2 emissions are lower than in the Reference case starting in 2026. In the Low/No Net Imports case, annual CO2 emissions from the transportation sector continue to decline as a result of reduced travel demand; these emissions are conversely higher in the High Net Imports case. Figure 25 summarizes the CO2 emissions projections in the cases completed for this analysis.

6. Effect of natural gas liquids growth

Background

NGL include a wide range of components produced during natural gas processing and petroleum refining. As natural gas production in recent years has grown dramatically, there has been a concurrent rapid increase in NGL production. NGL include ethane, propane, normal butane (n-butane), isobutane, and pentanes plus. The rising supply of some NGL components (particularly ethane and propane) has led to challenges, in finding markets and building the infrastructure necessary to move NGL to the new domestic demand and export markets. This discussion examines recent changes in U.S. NGL markets and how they might evolve under several scenarios. The future disposition of U.S. NGL supplies, particularly in international markets, is also discussed.

Recent growth in NGL production (Figure 39) has resulted largely from strong growth in shale gas production. The lightest NGL components, ethane and propane, account for most of the growth in NGL supply between 2008 and 2012. With the exception of propane, the main source of NGL is natural gas processing associated with growing natural gas production. That growth has led to logistical problems in some areas. For example, much of the increased ethane supply in the Marcellus region is stranded because of the distance from petrochemical markets in the Gulf Coast area.


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The uses of NGL are diverse. The lightest NGL component, ethane, is used almost exclusively as a petrochemical feedstock to produce ethylene, which in turn is a basic building block for plastics, packaging materials, and other consumer products. A limited amount of ethane can be left in the natural gas stream (ethane rejection) if the value of ethane sinks too close to the value of dry natural gas, but the amount of ethane mixed in dry natural gas is small. Propane is the most versatile NGL component, with applications ranging from residential heating, to transportation fuel for forklifts, to petrochemical feedstock for propylene and ethylene production (nearly one-half of all propane use in the United States is as petrochemical feedstock). Butanes are produced in much smaller quantities and are used mostly in refining (for gasoline blending or alkylation) or as chemical feedstock. The heaviest liquids, known as pentanes plus, are used as ethanol denaturant, blendstock for gasoline, chemical feedstock, and, more recently, as diluent for the extraction and pipeline movement of heavy crude oils from Canada.

Unlike the other NGL components, a large proportion of propane is produced in refineries (which is mixed with refinery-marketed propylene). Given that refinery production of propane and propylene has been largely unchanged since 2005 at about 540 thousand barrels per day, the growth of propane/propylene supply shown in Figure 39 is solely a result of increased propane yields from natural gas processing plants.


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International demand for NGL has provided an outlet for growing domestic production, and after years of being a net importer, the United States became a net exporter of propane in 2012 (Figure 40). Although the quantities shown in Figure 40, based on EIA data, represent an aggregated mixture of propane and propylene, other sources indicate that U.S. propylene exports have been on the decline since 2007 [110], implying that the recent change to net exporter status is the result of increased supplies of propane from natural gas processing plants.

Current developments in NGL markets

The market currently is reacting to the growing supply of ethane and propane by expanding both domestic use of NGL and export capacity. On the domestic side, much of the U.S. petrochemical industry can absorb ethane and propane by switching from heavier petroleum-based naphtha feedstock in ethylene crackers to lighter feedstock, and recent record low NGL prices have motivated petrochemical companies to maximize the amount of ethane and propane in their feedstock slate. To take advantage of the expected growth in supplies of light NGL components resulting from shale gas production, multiple projects and expansions of petrochemical crackers have been announced (Table 7).

Although the proposed projects shown in Table 7 will largely take advantage of the growing ethane supply, a few petrochemical projects that will use propane directly as a propylene feedstock through propane dehydrogenation also have been announced [111]. Although expanded feedstock use is expected to be by far the largest source of expanded demand for NGL, increased use of NGL as a fuel, especially propane, also is expected—including the marketing of propane as an alternative vehicle fuel [112] and for agricultural use, with propane suppliers currently offering incentives for farmers to use propane as a fuel to power irrigation systems [113].

Notwithstanding the efforts to encourage the use of propane as a fuel in the United States, and despite current low prices, opportunities to expand the market for propane in uses other than as feedstock are limited. Therefore, producers, gas processors, and fractionators are looking for a growing export outlet for both ethane and liquefied petroleum gases (LPG—a mixture of propane and butane). Export capacity is being expanded, both on the U.S. Gulf Coast (Targa's expansion of both its gas processing and fractionation capability at Mont Belvieu and its export facility at Galena Park [114]) and on the U.S. East Coast (Sunoco Logistics' Mariner East project to supply propane and ethane to Philadelphia's Marcus Hook terminal [115, 116]). Exports of ethane from the Marcellus shale to chemical facilities in Sarnia, Ontario, via the Mariner West pipeline system, and from the Bakken formation to a NOVA Chemical plant near Joffre, Alberta, via the Vantage pipeline [117], are expected by the end of 2013. In addition to planned exports to Canada, a pipeline is being developed to transport ethane from the Marcellus to the Gulf Coast to relieve oversupply. The midstream sector's rapid buildup and expansion of natural gas processing, pipeline, and storage capacity have accommodated increasing volumes of NGL resulting from the sharp growth in shale gas production.

AEO2013 projections


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AEO2013 projects continued growth in both natural gas production and NGL supplies, with NGL prices determined in large part by Brent crude oil prices and Henry Hub spot prices for natural gas (Figure 41). In the AEO2013 Reference, Low Oil and Gas Resource, and High Oil and Gas Resource cases, industrial propane prices in 2040 range from $22.13 per million Btu (2011 dollars) in the High Oil and Gas Resource case to $27.48 per million Btu in the Low Oil and Gas Resource case, a difference of approximately 24 percent. The difference between the propane prices in the High and Low Oil and Gas Resource cases increases from $3.49 per million Btu in 2015 to $7.00 per million Btu in 2025 as natural gas prices and NGL production diverge in the two cases. Over time, however, as the divergence in NGL production narrows between the cases, the influence of oil prices on propane prices increases, and the difference in the propane prices narrows in the cases.


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Production of NGPL, which are extracted from wet natural gas by gas processors, rises more steeply than natural gas production in the first half of the projection period as a result of increased natural gas and oil production from shale wells, which have relatively high liquids contents. As shale gas plays mature, NGPL production levels off or declines even as dry natural gas production increases (Figure 42).

Variations in NGL supplies and prices contribute to variations in demand for NGL. In the High Oil and Gas Resource case, propane demand in all sectors is higher than projected in the Reference case, and in the Low Oil and Gas Resource case propane demand is lower than in the Reference case. Some of the difference results from changes in the expected energy efficiency of space heating equipment in the residential sector, and possibly some fuel switching, in response to different price levels in the three cases. The remainder is attributed to variations in NGL feedstock consumption in the bulk chemicals sector, where the use of NGL as a fuel and feedstock varies with different price levels. In addition, because NGL feedstock competes with petroleum naphtha in the petrochemical industry, lower NGL prices relative to oil prices lead to more NGL consumption in the petrochemical industry.


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The LPG import-export balance changes rapidly when domestic supply exceeds demand. This trend continues in the near term in all three cases. In the High Oil and Gas Resource case, however, with more LPG production, net exports continue to grow throughout the projection (Figure 43). Propane accounts for most of the higher export volumes, which also include smaller amounts of butane and ethane. Currently, most U.S. exports of LPG go to Latin America, where LPG is used for heating and cooking.

International implications

The projected growth in NGL demand both for U.S. domestic uses and for export depends heavily on international markets. Current plans for ethane exports are limited to pipelines to Canada, and to date ethane is not shipped by ocean-going vessels. There is room for growth in propane exports, however, because propane is a far more versatile fuel. Propane exports to Latin America are expected to continue, along with some expansion into European markets. In addition, growing markets in Africa [118] for propane used in heating and cooking, along with continued demand from Asia (for fuel and feedstock), are expected to support exports of propane from both the United States and the Middle East. It remains to be seen how the market for propane exports will develop in the long term, and how the United States will seek value for its propane—converting it into chemicals for domestic use or for export, or exporting raw propane.

International markets also play a role in increased domestic consumption, particularly for expanded petrochemical feedstock consumption. The declining price of ethane improves the economics of ethylene crackers, as indicated by the planned capacities shown in Table 7. The new capacity suggests that companies are planning to gain a greater market share of ethylene demand in Asia, especially in China, which continues to be a growing importer of ethylene [119]. However, that economic advantage has to be weighed against the massive growth in chemical manufacturing complexes in the Middle East, as well as expansions in Asia. Feedstock availability will not be a concern in the Middle East, but most petrochemical plants in China and other Asian countries rely heavily on naphtha as a feedstock, and naphtha is produced from crude oil, which China imports. China is making efforts to diversify its feedstock slate and has announced plans to build coal-to-olefins plants [120]. In addition, China may develop its own shale gas resources over the next 10 to 15 years, which could provide less expensive supplies of ethane and propane. The advantage in the Middle East is its long-term access to feedstocks. Whether the United States can further capitalize on growth in basic chemical production (ethylene, propylene) to build up its higher-value chemical base, and how the production cost of those higher value chemicals would compete with those from Asia and the Middle East, is an open question.

Future plans for U.S. propane disposition will be based on the balance between growth in domestic demand and exports. Rising exports of propane and butane raise issues as well. For example, both propane and butane can be used not only as feedstock in ethylene crackers, but also as feedstock for specific chemical product. For example, dehydrogenation processes can make propylene from propane [121] and butadiene from butane [122]. The economic value of those chemicals (which would depend on both local and global markets), weighed against the export value of the NGL inputs (propane and butane), will need to be assessed. In addition, the value of derivatives (such as polyethylene and polypropylene) will be considered from the perspective of both their export value and their production costs, which will be tied directly to the price of their precursor inputs, ethylene and propylene. Finally, U.S. refineries produce a significant amount of propylene. There is some degree of flexibility within refineries' fluid catalytic cracker units to produce propylene [123], and future refinery production of propylene will depend on the value of propylene itself, the value of its co-products (mostly gasoline and propane), and refining costs.

Renewables from Legislation and Regulations

5. State renewable energy requirements and goals: Update through 2012

To the extent possible, AEO2013 incorporates the impacts of state laws requiring the addition of renewable generation or capacity by utilities doing business in the states. Currently, 30 states and the District of Columbia have an enforceable renewable portfolio standard (RPS) or similar law (Table 3). Under such standards, each state determines its own levels of renewable generation, eligible technologies [44], and noncompliance penalties. AEO2013 includes the impacts of all RPS laws in effect at the end of 2012 (with the exception of Alaska and Hawaii, because NEMS provides electricity market projections for the contiguous lower 48 states only). However, the projections do not include policies with either voluntary goals or targets that can be substantially satisfied with nonrenewable resources. In addition, NEMS does not treat fuel-specific provisions—such as those for solar and offshore wind energy—as distinct targets. Where applicable, such distinct targets (sometimes referred to as "tiers," "set-asides," or "carve-outs") may be subsumed into the broader targets, or they may not be included in the modeling because they could be met with existing capacity and/or projected growth based on modeled economic and policy factors.

In the AEO2013 Reference case, states generally are projected to meet their ultimate RPS targets. The RPS compliance constraints in most regions are approximated, because NEMS is not a state-level model, and each state generally represents only a portion of one of the NEMS electricity regions. Compliance costs in each region are tracked, and the projection for total renewable generation is checked for consistency with any state-level cost-control provisions, such as caps on renewable credit prices, limits on state compliance funding, or impacts on consumer electricity prices. In general, EIA has confirmed the states' requirements through original documentation, although the Database of State Incentives for Renewables & Efficiency was also used to support those efforts [45].

No new RPS programs were enacted over the past year; however, some states with existing RPS programs made modifications in 2012, as discussed below. The aggregate RPS requirement for the various state programs, as modeled in AEO2013, is shown in Figure 12. In 2025 the targets account for about 10 percent of U.S. electricity sales. The requirement is derived from the legal targets and projected sales and does not account for any of the discretionary or nondiscretionary waivers or limits on compliance found in most state RPS programs.

At present, most states are meeting or exceeding their required levels of renewable generation based on qualified generation [46]. A number of factors have helped to create an environment favorable for RPS compliance, including a surge of new RPS-qualified generation capacity timed to take advantage of federal incentives that either have expired or were scheduled to expire; significant reductions in the cost of renewable technologies like wind and solar; and generally reduced growth (or, in some cases, even contraction) of electricity sales. In addition to the availability of federal tax credits, which historically have gone through a cycle of expiration and renewal, renewable energy projects were given access to other options for federal support, including cash grants (also known as Section 1603 grants) and loan guarantees. The short-term availability of federal incentives has helped to make renewable capacity attractive to investors and helped utilities meet state requirements or potential future load growth in advance (that is, build ahead of time to take advantage of the federal incentives). The attractiveness of renewable projects to investors has also been supported by declining equipment costs for wind turbines and solar photovoltaic systems, as well as by improvements in the performance of those technologies. The declines in technology cost are, in themselves, the result of a complex set of interactions of policy, market, and engineering factors. Finally, most state RPS programs have targets that are tied to retail electricity sales; and with relatively slow growth in electricity sales in most parts of the country, the renewable generation that has entered service recently has gone further toward meeting the proportionally lower targets for absolute amounts of energy (that is, for kilowatthours of energy, as opposed to energy as a percent of sales).

Total renewable generation required for combined state renewable portfolio standards and projected total achieved, 2012-2040
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EIA projects that, overall, RPS-qualified generation will continue to meet or exceed aggregate targets for state RPS programs through 2040, as shown in Figure 12. Through the next decade, the surplus qualifying generation will decline gradually, as little additional qualifying capacity is added, allowing the targets to catch up with supply. By the end of the projection horizon, however, the surplus widens substantially as renewable generation technologies become increasingly competitive with conventional generation sources. It should be noted that the aggregate targets and qualifying generation shown in Figure 12 may mask significant regional variation, with some regions producing excess qualifying generation and others producing just enough to meet the requirement or even needing to import generation from adjoining regions to meet state targets. Furthermore, just because there is, in aggregate, more qualifying generation than is needed to meet the targets, this does not necessarily imply that projected generation would be the same without state RPS policies. State RPS policies may encourage investment in places where it otherwise would not occur, or would not occur in the amounts projected, even as other parts of the country see substantial growth above state targets, or even in their absence. It does, however, suggest that state RPS programs will not be the sole reason for future growth in renewable generation.

Recent RPS modifications

A number of states modified their RPS programs in 2012, either through regulatory proceedings or through legislative action. These changes are reflected in Table 3. The changes affect some aspects of the laws and implementing regulations, but they do not have substantive effects on the representation of the RPS programs in AEO2013. Key changes include:

California

California Assembly Bill 2196, which establishes requirements for certain biomass-based generation resources, requires that biomass-derived gas be produced on site or sourced from a common carrier pipeline that operates within the state. It also sets additional requirements related to the in-service date of a common carrier source and the ability to claim certain environmental benefits from the use of such sources.

Maryland

The state enacted a series of bills that accelerate the solar-specific compliance schedule (while leaving the aggregate RPS target unchanged) and expand the tier 1 requirement category to include thermal output from certain animal waste and ground-source heat pumps.

Massachusetts

The Department of Energy Resources issued final rules regarding the use of certain biomass resources to meet the RPS standard. Biomass facilities must meet certain conditions with regard to conversion technology and feedstock sourcing to be eligible for use in meeting the standard.

New Hampshire

Senate Bill 218 allows certain thermal resources, including heat derived from qualified solar, geothermal, and biomass sources, to meet renewable energy targets. It also allows electricity produced from the cofiring of biomass in certain existing coal plants to meet the requirements. The bill also adjusts the total renewable energy target upward by 1 percentage point, to 24.8 percent by 2025.

New Jersey

Senate Bill 1925 changed the compliance schedule for the solar component of the RPS. The revised law is implemented with a solar target of 3.47 percent of sales by 2021.

Ohio

The legislature passed a set of laws that allow certain types of cogeneration facilities to qualify in meeting the RPS.

6. California Assembly Bill 32: Emissions cap-and-trade as part of the Global Warming Solutions Act of 2006

California's AB 32, the Global Warming Solutions Act of 2006, authorized the California Air Resources Board (CARB) to set California's overall GHG emissions reduction goal to its 1990 level by 2020 and establish a comprehensive, multi-year program to reduce GHG emissions in California, including a cap-and-trade program [48].In addition to the cap-and-trade program, other authorized measures include the LCFS; energy efficiency goals and programs in transportation, buildings, and industry; combined heat and power goals; and RPS [49].

The cap-and-trade program features an enforceable cap on GHG emissions that will decline over time. CARB will distribute tradable allowances equal to the emissions allowed under the cap. Enforceable compliance obligations begin in 2013 for the electric power sector, including electricity imports, and for industrial facilities. Fuel providers must comply starting in 2015. All facilities that emit 25,000 metric tons carbon dioxide equivalent (CO2e) or more are subject to cap-and-trade regulations. The only exception is that, starting in 2015, all importers of electricity from electric facilities outside of California will be subject to cap-and-trade regulations, even from facilities that emit less than 25,000 metric tons CO2e[50].

The most significant GHG covered under the program is CO2, but the cap-and-trade program covers several other GHGs [51], including methane, nitrous oxide, perfluorocarbons, chlorofluorocarbons, nitrogen trifluoride, and sulfur hexafluoride [52]. In 2007, CARB determined that 427 million metric tons carbon dioxide equivalent (MMTCO2e) was the total state-wide GHG emissions level in 1990 and, therefore, would be the 2020 emissions goal. CARB estimates that the implementation of the cap-and-trade program will reduce GHG emissions by between 18 and 27 MMTCO2e in 2020 [53].

The enforceable cap goes into effect in 2013, and there are three multi-year compliance periods:

  • Compliance period 1 (2013-2014) includes sources of GHG emissions responsible for more than one-third of state-wide emissions.
  • Compliance period 2 (2015-2017) covers sources of GHG emissions responsible for about 85 percent of state-wide emissions.
  • Compliance period 3 (2018-2020) covers the same sources as Compliance Period 2 [54].

The electric power and industrial sectors are required to comply with the cap starting in 2013. Providers of natural gas, propane, and transportation fuels are required to comply starting in 2015, when the second compliance period begins. For the first compliance period, covered entities are required to submit allowances for up to 30 percent of their annual emissions in each year; however, at the end of 2014 they are required to account for all the emissions for which they were responsible during the 2-year period. Each covered entity can also use offsets to meet up to 8 percent of its compliance obligation. Offsets used as part of the program must be approved by CARB and can be canceled later by CARB for certain reasons (a provision known as "buyer liability").

A majority (51 percent) of the allowances [55] allocated over the initial 8 years of the program will be distributed through price containment reserves and auctions, which will be held quarterly when the program commences. CARB's first allowance auction was held in November 2012 [56]. Future auctions may be linked to Québec's cap-and-trade program [57]. Twenty-five percent of the allowances are allocated directly to electric utilities that sell electricity to consumers in the state. Seventeen percent of the allowances are allocated directly to affected industrial facilities in order to mitigate the economic impact of the cap on the industrial sector [58]. Allowance allocations for the industrial sector are based on output. Starting in 2013, the number of allowances allocated annually to the industrial sector declines linearly to 50 percent of the original total in 2020. The remaining 7 percent of the allowances issued in a given year go into a price containment reserve, to be used only if allowance prices rise above a set amount in quarterly auctions.

The AB 32 cap-and-trade provisions, which were incorporated only for the electric power sector in AEO2012, are more fully implemented in AEO2013, adding industrial facilities, refineries, fuel providers, and non-CO2 GHG emissions. The allowance price, representing the incremental cost of complying with AB 32 cap-and-trade, is modeled in the NEMS Electricity Market Module via a region-specific emissions constraint. This allowance price, when added to the market fuel prices, results in higher effective fuel prices [59] in the demand sectors. Limited banking and borrowing, as well as a price containment reserve [60] and offsets, also have been modeled, providing some compliance flexibility and cost containment. NEMS macroeconomic effects are based on an energy-economy equilibrium that reacts to changes in energy prices and energy consumption; however, no macroeconomic effects are assumed explicitly from the AB 32 cap-and-trade provisions.

Renewables from Comparison with other projections

6. Liquid fuels

In the AEO2013 Reference case, the Brent crude oil spot price (in 2011 dollars) increases to $117 per barrel in 2025, $145 per barrel in 2035, and $163 per barrel in 2040 (Table 13). Prices are higher earlier in the INFORUM and IEA projections but lower in the later years, ranging from $136 per barrel in 2025 to $150 per barrel in 2035. In the AEO2013 Reference case, the U.S. imported RAC for crude oil (in 2011 dollars) increases to $113 per barrel in 2025, $139 per barrel in 2035, and $155 per barrel in 2040. RAC prices in the INFORUM projection are higher, ranging from $126 per barrel in 2025 to $138 per barrel in 2035. EVA and ExxonMobil did not provide projections for Brent or RAC crude oil prices.

In the AEO2013 Reference case, domestic crude oil production increases from about 5.7 million barrels per day in 2011 to 6.8 million barrels per day in 2025, then declines to about 6.3 million barrels per day in 2035 and 6.1 million barrels per day in 2040. Overall, projected crude oil production in 2035 is more than 10 percent higher than the 2011 total. The INFORUM projection shows a considerable increase in crude oil production, to 9.5 million barrels per day in 2035. Similarly, the EVA projection shows crude oil production increasing consistently to 8.5 million barrels per day in 2035. The IHSGI projection is closer to the AEO2013 Reference case, with domestic crude oil production reaching 6.4 million barrels per day in 2035. Similar to the AEO2013 Reference case, all the outlooks assume continued significant growth in crude oil production from non-OPEC countries, specifically in North America from tight oil formations.

Total net imports of crude oil and other liquids in the AEO2013 Reference case increase from 8.6 million barrels per day in 2011 to 7.0 million barrels per day in 2025 and remain at that level through the remainder of the projection. The INFORUM projection is similar, at 7.1 million barrels per day in 2025 and 7.4 million barrels per day in 2035. In the IHSGI projection, however, total net imports fall dramatically, to approximately 4.7 million barrels per day in 2035 and around 4.1 million in 2040. IHSGI projects efficiency improvements that would decrease total U.S. demand for liquids and lessen the need for imports.

Biofuel production on a crude oil equivalent basis increases to about 1.1 million barrels per day in both 2025 and in 2035 and to more than 1.3 million barrels per day in 2040 in the AEO2013 Reference case. IHSGI projects biofuel production of 1.2 million barrels per day in 2025. The IHSGI projection assumes that technology hurdles and economic factors limit the growth of U.S. biofuel production to only a marginal share of total energy supply. IHSGI projects 1.4 million barrels per day of biofuel production in 2035 and a similar level in 2040. The EVA, INFORUM, IEA, and ExxonMobil outlooks do not include biofuels production.

Prices for both diesel fuel and gasoline increase through 2040 in the AEO2013 Reference case projection, with diesel prices higher than gasoline prices. INFORUM projects increasing gasoline prices and decreasing diesel prices, so that in 2035 the gasoline price is higher than the diesel price. IHSGI projects falling prices for both gasoline and diesel fuel, with 2040 prices for gasoline more than $1.00 per gallon lower and for diesel fuel prices $2.00 per gallon lower than projected in the AEO2013 Reference case. The EVA, IEA, and ExxonMobil projections do not include delivered fuel prices.

7. Coal

The AEO2013 Reference case projects the highest levels of total coal production and prices in comparison with other coal outlooks available from EVA, ICF, IHSGI, INFORUM, the IEA’s World Energy Outlook, and ExxonMobil. Total consumption in AEO2013 is also higher than in the other outlooks, except for INFORUM and ICF, whose consumption projections for 2035 are 2 percent and 5 percent higher, respectively, than projected in the AEO2013 Reference case (Table 14).

The detailed assumptions that underlie the various projections are not generally available, although there are some important known differences that contribute to the differences among the outlooks. For instance, EVA and ICF assume the implementation of new regulations for cooling water intake and coal combustion residuals; ExxonMobil, which has the lowest projection of coal consumption, assumes a carbon tax; and ICF also includes a carbon cap-and-trade program beginning in 2023. Because those policies are not current law, the AEO2013 Reference case excludes them, which contributes to the lower coal consumption projections in many of the other outlooks relative to AEO2013. Variation among the assumptions about growth in energy demand and other fuel prices, particularly for natural gas, also contribute to the differences.

Although the AEO2013 projections for total coal consumption are actually somewhat lower than the ICF and INFORUM projections, the other outlooks offer more pessimistic projections. ExxonMobil is the most pessimistic, with coal consumption 33 percent and 55 percent lower in 2025 and 2030, respectively, than in the AEO2013 Reference case. Coal consumption in 2025 is 17 percent (174 million tons) less in the EVA outlook than in the AEO2013 Reference case and 8 percent less in the IHSGI outlook. The INFORUM and ICF outlooks for total coal consumption in 2035 are between 21 million tons (2 percent) and 55 million tons (5 percent) higher, respectively, than in the AEO2013 Reference case.

The electricity sector is the predominant consumer of coal and the primary source of differences among the projections, due to their differing assumptions about regulations and the economics of coal versus other fuel choices over time. Although EVA shows a greater reduction in coal use for electricity generation in 2025 than does IHSGI, for 2035 the two projections are similar. After 2035, EVA shows a continued small increase in coal use for electricity generation, whereas it continues to fall in the IHSGI projection and in 2040 is 37 million tons less than projected by EVA. The ICF outlook for coal consumption in electricity generation is similar to the AEO2013 projection through 2025 but then declines gradually through 2035. IEA projects a level of coal use for electricity generation in 2035 that is most similar to the AEO2013 Reference case.

In all the projections, coal consumption in the end-use sectors is low in comparison with the electric power sector; however, there are several notable differences among the outlooks. Most notably, the ICF outlook shows increasing coal use in the other sectors that offsets declining consumption for electric power. ICF is the only projection that shows an increase in coal use in the industrial and buildings sectors. AEO2013 shows the next highest level of coal consumption in the industrial and buildings sectors, but it is still less than half of ICF's projection for industrial and buildings consumption in 2035. Both IHSGI and EVA show significant declines in coal use in those sectors over the projection period. In 2040, coal use in the buildings and industrial sectors in the IHSGI and EVA projections is equal to only 39 percent and 60 percent, respectively, of the coal use in those sectors in AEO2013. In addition, only AEO2013 and ICF project coal use for liquids production. Some of the gains in the two sectors are offset in the ICF outlook by lower consumption of coal at coke plants, which falls from 21 million tons in 2011 to 12 million tons in 2035. In the other outlooks, coal use at coke plants is similar to the levels in the AEO2013 Reference case, with modest declines through the end of their projections.

Differences among the projections for U.S. domestic coal production fall within a smaller range than the projections for coal consumption, depending in part on each outlook's projections for net exports. For example, coal production in the EVA and IHSGI projections is buoyed by relatively high export levels after 2011, with total coal production falling by 13 percent and 5 percent, respectively, from 2011 to 2035, compared with a 16-percent decline in total coal consumption in both projections. The ICF and INFORUM outlooks, which project 11-percent and 8-percent increases in total coal consumption through 2035, respectively, show changes in total coal production of 4 percent and no growth, respectively, as a result of significantly lower net export levels.

The projections for coal exports in the AEO2013 Reference case generally fall between the EVA and IHSGI projections. INFORUM's projection for coal exports is the lowest among the outlooks but similar to ICF's projection for 2035. The composition of EVA's exports also differs from that in AEO2013, in that EVA expects most exports to be thermal coal, whereas most exports in the early years of the AEO2013 Reference case are coking coal. In 2025, coking coal accounts for 57 percent of total coal exports in the AEO2013 Reference case, compared with 34 percent in the EVA projection. In 2040, however, the coking coal share of exports in the AEO2013 projection declines to 44 percent, compared with 32 percent in the EVA projection. In comparison, coking coal accounts for 74 percent of total coal exports in 2035 in the ICF projection.

In the EVA and IHSGI projections, coal imports remain low and relatively flat. AEO2013 also shows low levels of imports initially, but they grow to 36 million tons in 2040 from 5 million tons in 2025. For 2035, the ICF outlook implies 136 million tons of coal imports (calculated by subtracting production from the sum of consumption and exports), which is higher than all the others shown in the comparison table. Coal imports remain above 20 million tons in the INFORUM projections, and as in the ICF and AEO2013 projections, they increase over time, doubling in 2035 from the 2025 level.

Only AEO2013, ICF, and INFORUM provide projections of minemouth coal prices. In the ICF projections, minemouth prices in 2025 are 20 percent below those in 2011 (on a dollar-per-ton basis), and they decline only slightly through 2035. INFORUM projects coal minemouth prices that are very similar to the AEO2013 prices (on a dollar-per-million Btu basis).

The ICF outlook shows the lowest price for coal delivered to the electricity sector in both 2025 and 2035, with the real coal price lower than in 2011. INFORUM's prices for coal delivered to electricity generators (on a dollar-per-ton basis) are similar. IHSGI's delivered coal prices to electricity generators are significantly lower than those in the AEO2013 Reference case and remain close to the 2011 price over the entire projection period. As a result, the IHSGI delivered coal price to electricity generators is 9 percent lower in 2025 and 22 percent lower in 2040, on a dollar-per-ton basis, than projected in the AEO2013 Reference case.

 

Endnotes

44. The eligible technology, and even the definition of the technology or fuel category, will vary by state. For example, one state's definition of renewables may include hydroelectric power generation, while another's definition may not. Table 3 provides more detail on how the technology or fuel category is defined by each state.
45. More information about the Database of State Incentives for Renewables & Efficiency can be found at http://www.dsireusa.org/incentives.
46. Database of State Incentives for Renewables & Efficiency, http://www.dsireusa.org/rpsdata/index.cfm.
47. Pyrolysis is defined as the thermal decomposition of biomass at high temperatures (greater than 400 °F, or 200 °C) in the absence of air.
48. California Legislative Information, "Assembly Bill No. 32: California Global Warming Solutions Act of 2006" (Sacramento, CA: September 27, 2006), http://leginfo.legislature.ca.gov/faces/billNavClient.xhtml?bill_id=200520060AB32.
49. California Air Resources Board, "AB 32 Scoping Plan Functional Equivalent Document (FED)" (Sacramento, CA: May 16, 2012), http://www.arb.ca.gov/cc/scopingplan/fed.htm.
50. State of California, "Final Regulation Order, Subchapter 10 Climate Change, Article 5, Sections 95800 to 96023, Title 17, Article 5: California Cap on Greenhouse Gas Emissions and Market-Based Compliance Mechanisms" (Sacramento, CA: December 22, 2011), pp. 47-49, http://www.arb.ca.gov/regact/2010/capandtrade10/finalrevfro.pdf.
51. State of California, "Final Regulation Order, Subchapter 10 Climate Change, Article 5, Sections 95800 to 96023, Title 17, Article 5: California Cap on Greenhouse Gas Emissions and Market-Based Compliance Mechanisms" (Sacramento, CA: December 22, 2011), http://www.arb.ca.gov/regact/2010/capandtrade10/finalrevfro.pdf.
52. California Air Resources Board, "California Greenhouse Gas Emissions Inventory: 2000-2009" (Sacramento, CA: December 2011), p. 10, http://www.arb.ca.gov/cc/inventory/pubs/reports/ghg_inventory_00-09_report.pdf.
53. California Air Resources Board, "Updated Information Digest, Regulation to Implement the California Cap-and-Trade Program" (Sacramento, CA: December 14, 2011), p. 6, http://www.arb.ca.gov/regact/2010/capandtrade10/finuid.pdf.
54. For years 2021-2040 held constant in AEO2013 at 2020 levels.
55. California Air Resources Board, "Appendix J, Allowance Allocation" (Sacramento, CA: October 18, 2010), p. J-12, http://www.arb.ca.gov/regact/2010/capandtrade10/capv4appj.pdf.
56. California Air Resources Board, "California Air Resources Board Quarterly Auction 1" (Sacramento, CA: November 19, 2012), http://www.arb.ca.gov/cc/capandtrade/auction/november_2012/auction1_results_2012q4nov.pdf.
57. California Environmental Protection Agency, "Press Release: California Applauds Québec on Adoption of Amended Cap-and-Trade Program" (Sacramento, CA: December 13, 2012), http://www.calepa.ca.gov/PressRoom/Releases/2012/Quebec.pdf.
58. See Assembly Bill 32, Section 38562(B)(8), http://www.leginfo.ca.gov/pub/05-06/bill/asm/ab_0001-0050/ab_32_bill_20060927_chaptered.pdf. The evaluation of "leakage risk" and the amount allocated to prevent leakage will be revisited by CARB during each of the periodic reviews of the cap-and-trade program, which will occur at least once every three-year compliance cycle.
59. CA price that has been adjusted for allowance costs.
60. State of California, "Final Regulation Order, Subchapter 10 Climate Change, Article 5, Sections 95800 to 96023, Title 17, California Code of Regulations: California Cap on Greenhouse Gas Emissions and Market-Based Compliance Mechanisms" (Sacramento, CA: December 22, 2011), http://www.arb.ca.gov/regact/2010/capandtrade10/finalrevfro.pdf. Note: The final regulation states that reserves are held at 1 percent in compliance period 1, 4 percent in compliance period 2, and 7 percent in compliance period 3. For modeling purposes, post-2020 reserves are set to 0 percent.
65. United States Internal Revenue Code, Title 26, Subtitle A—Income Taxes, §48(a)(2)(A)(ii), http://www.gpo.gov/fdsys/pkg/USCODE-2011-title26/pdf/USCODE-2011-title26-subtitleA-chap1-subchapA.pdf.
66. United States Internal Revenue Code, Title 26, Subtitle A—Income Taxes, §48(c)(3)(B)(iii), http://www.gpo.gov/fdsys/pkg/USCODE-2011-title26/pdf/USCODE-2011-title26-subtitleA-chap1-subchapA.pdf.
67. Calculations based on U.S. Energy Information Administration, Form EIA-860, Schedule 3, 2011 data (Washington, DC: January 9, 2013), http://www.eia.gov/electricity/data/eia860/index.html.
68. U.S. Congress, "American Taxpayer Relief Act of 2012," P.L. 112-240, Sections 401 through 412, http://www.gpo.gov/fdsys/pkg/PLAW-112publ240/pdf/PLAW-112publ240.pdf.
69. Modeled provisions based on U.S. Congress, "American Taxpayer Relief Act of 2012," P.L. 112-240, Sections 401, 404, 405, 407, 408, 409, and 412, http://www.gpo.gov/fdsys/pkg/PLAW-112publ240/pdf/PLAW-112publ240.pdf.
71. Liquid fuels consists of crude oil and condensate to petroleum refineries, refinery gain, NGPL, biofuels, and other liquid fuels produced from non-crude oil feedstocks such as CTL and GTL.
72. Geologic characteristics relevant for hydrocarbon extraction include depth, thickness, porosity, carbon content, pore pressure, clay content, thermal maturity, and water content.
73. A production type curve represents the expected production each year from a well. A well’s EUR equals the cumulative production of that well over a 30-year productive life, using current technology without consideration of economic or operating conditions. A description of a production type curve is provided in the Annual Energy Outlook 2012 "Issues in focus" article, "U.S. crude oil and natural gas resource uncertainty," http://www.eia.gov/forecasts/archive/aeo12/IF_all.cfm#uscrude.
74. A more detailed analysis of the uncertainty in offshore resources is presented in the Annual Energy Outlook 2011 "Issues in focus" article, "Potential of offshore crude oil and natural gas resources," http://www.eia.gov/forecasts/archive/aeo11/IF_all.cfm#potentialoffshore.
75. U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and National Highway Transportation Safety Administration, "2017 and Later Model Year Light-Duty Vehicle Greenhouse Gas Emissions and Corporate Average Fuel Economy Standards: Final Rule," Federal Register, Vol. 77, No. 199 (Washington, DC: October 15, 2012), https://www.federalregister.gov/articles/2012/10/15/2012-21972/2017-and-later-model-year-light-duty-vehicle-greenhouse-gas-emissions-and-corporate-average-fuel.
76. K.A. Small and K.Van Dender, "Fuel Efficiency and Motor Vehicle Travel: The Declining Rebound Effect," University of California, Irvine, Department of Economics, Working Paper #05-06-03 (Irvine, CA: August 18, 2007), http://www.economics.uci.edu/files/economics/docs/workingpapers/2005-06/Small-03.pdf.
77. National Petroleum Council, "Advancing Technology for America’s Transportation Future" (Washington, DC: August 1, 2012), http://www.npc.org/FTF-report-080112/NPC-Fuels_Summary_Report.pdf.
78. International Maritime Organization, Information Resources on Air Pollution and Greenhouse Gas (GHG) Emissions from International Shipping (Marpol Annex VI (SOX, NOX, ODS, VOC) / Greenhouse Gas (CO2) and Climate Change) (London, United Kingdom: December 23, 2011), http://www.imo.org/KnowledgeCentre/InformationResourcesOnCurrentTopics/AirPollutionand
GreenhouseGasEmissionsfromInternationalShippping/Documents/Information%20Resources%20on%20AIR%20POLLUTION%20AND%20GHG%20EMISSIONS%20FROM%20
INTERNATIONAL%20SHIPPING.pdf
.
79. U.S. Energy Information Administration, Could the United States become the leading global producer of liquid fuels, and how much does it matter to U.S. and world energy markets?," This Week in Petroleum (Washington, DC: December 19, 2012), http://www.eia.gov/oog/info/twip/twiparch/2012/121219/twipprint.html.
80. U.S. Energy Information Administration, "Could the United States become the leading global producer of liquid fuels, and how much does it matter to U.S. and world energy markets?," This Week in Petroleum (Washington, DC: December 19, 2012), http://www.eia.gov/oog/info/twip/twiparch/2012/121219/twipprint.html.
81. The circumstances under which the United States can and cannot export crude oil under current law are more fully described in U.S. Energy Information Administration, "Market implications of increased domestic production of light sweet crude oil?," This Week in Petroleum (Washington, DC: November 28, 2012), http://www.eia.gov/oog/info/twip/twiparch/2012/121128/twipprint.html.
110. Global Data, "Propylene Exports," Petrochemicals eTrack (March 2013), http://petrochemicalsetrack.com (subscription site).
111. A. Greenwood, "Tight US propylene may lead to two more PDH plants," ICIS News (June 25, 2012), http://www.icis.com/Articles/2012/06/25/9572490/tight-us-propylene-may-lead-to-two-more-pdh-plants.html.
112. J. Schroeder, "ProCOT Launches Propane Education Campaign," Ethanol Report (March 11, 2013), http://domesticfuel.com/2013/03/11/procot-launches-propane-education-campaign.
113. Propane Education and Research Council, "Programs and Incentives," http://www.agpropane.com/programs-and-incentives.
114. Targa Resources, "Targa Resources Partners LP Announces Project to Export International Grade Propane," Globe Newswire (Houston, TX: September 19, 2011), http://ir.targaresources.com/releasedetail.cfm?releaseid=606206.
115. A. Maykuth, "Former Sunoco Refinery in Marcus Hook Will Process Marcellus Shale Products," The Philadelphia Inquirer (Philadelphia, PA: September 28, 2012), http://articles.philly.com/2012-09-28/business/34128480_1_ethane-sunoco-logistics-sunoco-s-marcus-hook.
116. "More US Marcellus projects needed to absorb ethane production," ICIS News (Houston, TX: October 10, 2011), http://www.icis.com/Articles/2011/10/10/9498866/more-us-marcellus-projects-needed-to-absorb-ethane-production.html.
117. C.E. Smith, "US NGL Pipelines Expand to Match Liquids Growth," Oil and Gas Journal (May 7, 2012), http://www.ogj.com/articles/print/vol-110/issue-5/special-report-worldwide-gas/us-ngl-pipelines-expand.html (subscription site).
118. S. Williams, "LPG - the fuel for Africa," New African (December 2007), http://www.africasia.com/uploads/na_oilgas_1207.pdf.
119. "China's ethylene import dependency rises in January-May," ICIS C1Energy (July 17, 2012), http://www.c1energy.com/common/4162279,0,0,0,2.htm.
120. B. Thiennes, "Increased Coal-to-Olefins Processes in China," Hydrocarbon Processing (Houston, TX: October 1, 2012), http://www.hydrocarbonprocessing.com/Article/3096211/Increased-coal-to-olefins-processes-in-China.html.
121. A. Greenwood, "Tight US propylene may lead to two more PDH plants," ICIS News (June 25, 2012), http://www.icis.com/Articles/2012/06/25/9572490/tight-us-propylene-may-lead-to-two-more-pdh-plants.html.
122. J. Richardson, "Butadiene Oversupply Threat," ICIS Asian Chemical Connections (May 10, 2012), http://www.icis.com/blogs/asian-chemical-connections/2012/05/butadiene-oversupply-threat.html.
123. K.A. Couch et. al., "FCC propylene production," Petroleum Technology Quarterly (2007), http://www.uop.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/02/UOP-FCC-Propylene-Production-Tech-Paper.pdf.
132. The factors that influence decisionmaking on capacity additions include electricity demand growth, the need to replace inefficient plants, the costs and operating efficiencies of different generation options, fuel prices, state RPS programs, and the availability of federal tax credits for some technologies.
133.Unless otherwise noted, the term capacity in the discussion of electricity generation indicates utility, nonutility, and CHP capacity.
134.Costs are for the electric power sector only.
135. The levelized costs reflect the average of regional costs. For detailed discussion of levelized costs, see U.S. Energy Information Administration, "Levelized Cost of New Generation Resources in the Annual Energy Outlook 2013," http://www.eia.gov/forecasts/aeo/electricity_generation.cfm.
137.xTL refers to liquid fuels that are created from biomass, as in biomass-to-liquids (BTL); from natural gas, as in GTL; and from coal, as in CTL.

Reference Case Tables
Table 1. Total Energy Supply, Disposition, and Price Summary XLS
Table 16. Renewable Energy Generating Capacity and Generation XLS
Table 17. Renewable Energy Consumption by Sector and Source XLS
Table 18. Energy-Related Carbon Dioxide Emissions by Sector and Source - United States XLS
Table 18.1. Energy-Related Carbon Dioxide Emissions by Sector and Source - New England XLS
Table 18.2. Energy-Related Carbon Dioxide Emissions by Sector and Source - Middle Atlantic XLS
Table 18.3. Energy-Related Carbon Dioxide Emissions by Sector and Source - East North Central XLS
Table 18.4. Energy-Related Carbon Dioxide Emissions by Sector and Source - West North Central XLS
Table 18.5. Energy-Related Carbon Dioxide Emissions by Sector and Source - South Atlantic XLS
Table 18.6. Energy-Related Carbon Dioxide Emissions by Sector and Source - East South Central XLS
Table 18.7. Energy-Related Carbon Dioxide Emissions by Sector and Source - West South Central XLS
Table 18.8. Energy-Related Carbon Dioxide Emissions by Sector and Source - Mountain XLS
Table 18.9. Energy-Related Carbon Dioxide Emissions by Sector and Source - Pacific XLS
Table 58. Renewable Energy Generation by Fuel - United States XLS
Table 58.1. Renewable Energy Generation by Fuel - Texas Regional Entity XLS
Table 58.1. Renewable Energy Generation by Fuel - Reliability First Corporation / Michigan XLS
Table 58.11. Renewable Energy Generation by Fuel - Reliability First Corporation / West XLS
Table 58.12. Renewable Energy Generation by Fuel - SERC Reliability Corporation / Delta XLS
Table 58.13. Renewable Energy Generation by Fuel - SERC Reliability Corporation / Gateway XLS
Table 58.14. Renewable Energy Generation by Fuel - SERC Reliability Corporation / Southeastern XLS
Table 58.15. Renewable Energy Generation by Fuel - SERC Reliability Corporation / Central XLS
Table 58.16. Renewable Energy Generation by Fuel - SERC Reliability Corporation / Virginia-Carolina XLS
Table 58.17. Renewable Energy Generation by Fuel - Southwest Power Pool / North XLS
Table 58.18. Renewable Energy Generation by Fuel - Southwest Power Pool / South XLS
Table 58.19. Renewable Energy Generation by Fuel - Western Electricity Coordinating Council / Southwest XLS
Table 58.2. Renewable Energy Generation by Fuel - Western Electricity Coordinating Council / California XLS
Table 58.2. Renewable Energy Generation by Fuel - Florida Reliability Coordinating Council XLS
Table 58.21. Renewable Energy Generation by Fuel - Western Electricity Coordinating Council / Northwest Power Pool Area XLS
Table 58.22. Renewable Energy Generation by Fuel - Western Electricity Coordinating Council / Rockies XLS
Table 58.3. Renewable Energy Generation by Fuel - Midwest Reliability Council / East XLS
Table 58.4. Renewable Energy Generation by Fuel - Midwest Reliability Council / West XLS
Table 58.5. Renewable Energy Generation by Fuel - Northeast Power Coordinating Council / Northeast XLS
Table 58.6. Renewable Energy Generation by Fuel - Northeast Power Coordinating Council / NYC-Westchester XLS
Table 58.7. Renewable Energy Generation by Fuel - Northeast Power Coordinating Council / Long Island XLS
Table 58.8. Renewable Energy Generation by Fuel - Northeast Power Coordinating Council / Upstate New York XLS
Table 58.9. Renewable Energy Generation by Fuel - Reliability First Corporation / East XLS