‹ Analysis & Projections

AEO2011 Early Release Overview

Release Date: December 16, 2011   |  Next Release Date: January 2012  |   Report Number: DOE/EIA-0383ER(2011)

Energy Consumption by Primary Fuel

Total primary energy consumption, which was 101.7 quadrillion Btu in 2007, grows by 21 percent in the AEO2011 Reference case, from 94.8 quadrillion Btu in 2009 to 114.3 quadrillion Btu in 2035, to about the same level as in the AEO2010 projection in 2035. The fossil fuel share of energy consumption falls from 84 percent of total U.S. energy demand in 2009 to 78 percent in 2035, reflecting the impacts of CAFE standards and provisions in the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (ARRA), Energy Improvement and Extension Act of 2008 (EIEA2008), Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007 (EISA2007), and State legislation.

Although the situation is uncertain, EIA's present view of the projected rates of technology development and market penetration of cellulosic biofuel technologies suggests that available quantities of cellulosic biofuels will be insufficient to meet the RFS targets for cellulosic biofuels before 2022, triggering both waivers and a modification of applicable volumes, as provided in Section 211(o) of the Clean Air Act as amended in EISA2007. The modification of volumes reduces the overall target in 2022 from 36.0 billion gallons to 25.7 billion gallons in the AEO2011 Reference case, equal to the AEO2010 Reference case.5


Figure Data
Total U.S. consumption of liquid fuels, including both fossil liquids and biofuels, grows from 36.6 quadrillion Btu (18.8 million barrels per day) in 2009 to 41.8 quadrillion Btu (22.0 million barrels per day) in 2035 in the AEO2011 Reference case (Figure 7). The transportation sector dominates demand for liquid fuels, and its share (as measured by energy content) grows only slightly, from 72 percent of total liquids consumption in 2009 to 74 percent in 2035. As in AEO2010, biofuel consumption accounts for most of the growth; with expectations of additional waivers, the biofuel portion of liquid fuels consumption is 3.9 quadrillion Btu in AEO2011, about the same as in AEO2010.

In the AEO2011 Reference case, natural gas consumption rises from 22.7 trillion cubic feet in 2009 to 26.5 trillion cubic feet in 2035. The total in 2035 is about 1.6 trillion cubic feet higher than in the AEO2010 Reference case due to lower natural gas prices.

Total coal consumption, which was 22.7 quadrillion Btu in 2007, increases from 19.7 quadrillion Btu (1,000 million short tons) in 2009 to 25.2 quadrillion Btu (1,302 million short tons) in 2035 in the AEO2011 Reference case. Coal consumption, mostly for electric power generation, grows gradually throughout the projection period, as existing plants are used more intensively, and a few new plants already under construction are completed and enter service. Coal consumption in the electric power sector in 2035 in the AEO2011 Reference case is about 1.3 quadrillion Btu (53 million short tons) lower than in the AEO2010 Reference case, however, as a result of higher levels of natural gas use for electric power generation due to relatively lower natural gas prices in the AEO2011 Reference case.

Total consumption of marketed renewable fuels grows by 2.9 percent per year in the AEO2011 Reference case. Growth in the consumption of renewable fuels results mainly from the implementation of the Federal RFS for transportation fuels and State renewable portfolio standard (RPS) programs for electricity generation. Marketed renewable fuels include wood, municipal waste, biomass, and hydroelectricity in the end-use sectors; hydroelectricity, geothermal, municipal waste, biomass, solar, and wind for generation in the electric power sector; and ethanol for gasoline blending and biomass-based diesel in the transportation sector, of which 3.9 quadrillion Btu is included with liquids fuel consumption in 2035. Excluding hydroelectricity, renewable energy consumption in the electric power sector grows from 1.2 quadrillion Btu in 2009 to 3.3 quadrillion Btu in 2035.


Notes

5 The accounting of RFS volumes is based on ethanol-equivalent gallons rather than actual physical volumes.