U.S. Energy Information Administration - EIA - Independent Statistics and Analysis
Annual Energy Outlook 2011
Release Date: April 26, 2011 | Next Early Release Date: January 23, 2012 | Report Number: DOE/EIA-0383(2011)
Projections by U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) are not statements of what will happen but of what might happen, given the assumptions and methodologies used for any particular case. The Reference case projection is a business-as-usual trend estimate, given known technology and technological and demographic trends. EIA explores the impacts of alternative assumptions in other cases with different macroeconomic growth rates, world oil prices, and rates of technology progress. The main cases in the Annual Energy Outlook 2011 (AEO2011) generally assume that current laws and regulations are maintained throughout the projections. Thus, the projections provide policy-neutral baselines that can be used to analyze policy initiatives.
While energy markets are complex, energy models are simplified representations of energy production and consumption, regulations, and producer and consumer behavior. Projections are highly dependent on the data, methodologies, model structures, and assumptions used in their development. Behavioral characteristics are indicative of real-world tendencies rather than representations of specific outcomes.
Energy market projections are subject to much uncertainty. Many of the events that shape energy markets are random and cannot be anticipated. In addition, future developments in technologies, demographics, and resources cannot be foreseen with certainty. Many key uncertainties in the AEO2011 projections are addressed through alternative cases.
EIA has endeavored to make these projections as objective, reliable, and useful as possible; however, they should serve as an adjunct to, not a substitute for, a complete and focused analysis of public policy initiatives.