‹ Analysis & Projections

Short-Term Energy Outlook

Release Date: January 13, 2015  |  Next Release Date: February 10, 2015  |  Full Report    |   Text Only   |   All Tables   |   All Figures

Renewables and CO2 Emissions

Electricity and Heat Generation from Renewables

EIA projects that total renewables used for electricity and heat generation will grow by 3.3% in 2015. Conventional hydropower generation increases by 2.1%, while nonhydropower renewables generation increases by 3.9%. In 2016, total renewables consumption for electric power and heat generation increases by 4.8% as a result of a 1.1% increase in hydropower and a 6.6% increase in nonhydropower renewables.

In 2013, the electricity generation shares were 6.6% and 6.2% from hydropower and nonhydropower renewables, respectively. In 2014, 6.4% of generation came from hydropower and 6.7% from nonhydropower renewables. This trend is expected to continue, with the electricity generation share from nonhydropower renewables rising to 7.9% by 2016, and the hydropower share remaining at 6.4%. Wind is the largest source of nonhydropower renewable generation, and it is projected to contribute 5.3% of total electricity generation in 2016.

EIA expects continued growth in utility-scale solar power generation, which is projected to average almost 80 gigawatthours per day in 2016. Despite the growth, solar power remains just 0.7% of total U.S. utility-scale generation in 2016. Although solar growth has historically been concentrated in customer-sited distributed generation installations, EIA expects that utility-scale solar capacity will increase more than 60% between the end of 2014 and the end of 2016, with about half of this new capacity being built in California. Wind capacity, which grew by 10% between 2012 and 2014, is forecast to increase by about 23% between 2014 and 2016. Because wind is starting from a much larger base than solar, even though the growth rate is lower, the absolute amount of the increase in capacity is more than twice that of solar: 15 gigawatts of wind versus 6 gigawatts of utility-scale solar.

Liquid Biofuels

Ethanol production in December 2014 reached an estimated monthly average record of 979,000 bbl/d, exceeding the previous record of 968,000 bbl/d set the previous month. Ethanol production is estimated to have averaged 935,000 bbl/d in 2014, and EIA expects that ethanol production will average 936,000 bbl/d in 2015 and 937,000 bbl/d in 2016. Biodiesel production averaged an estimated 81,000 bbl/d in 2014 and is forecast to average 84,000 bbl/d in both 2015 and 2016.

Energy-Related Carbon Dioxide Emissions

EIA estimates that emissions grew 0.9% in 2014. Emissions are forecast to increase by 0.9% in 2015 and 0.3% in 2016. These forecasts are sensitive to both weather and economic assumptions.

U.S. Renewables & CO2 Emissions Summary
  2013 2014 2015 2016
a Conventional hydroelectric power only. Hydroelectricity generated by pumped storage is not included in renewable energy.
U.S. Renewables Consumption (quadrillion Btu)
Hydroelectric Powera 2.561 2.472 2.524 2.551
Geothermal 0.221 0.218 0.219 0.222
Solar 0.307 0.424 0.521 0.570
Wind 1.595 1.699 1.833 2.096
Wood Biomass 2.138 2.167 2.115 2.135
Ethanol 1.090 1.110 1.092 1.094
Biodiesel 0.205 0.195 0.196 0.196
Waste Biomass 0.476 0.472 0.490 0.497
Total 9.321 9.537 9.772 10.147
Carbon Dioxide Emissions by Fuel (million metric tons)
Petroleum and Other Liquid Fuels 2272 2281 2319 2331
Natural Gas 1399 1434 1442 1465
Coal 1722 1727 1727 1711
Total Fossil Fuels 5393 5442 5488 5506

Interactive Data Viewers

Provides custom data views of historical and forecast data

STEO Custom Table Builder ›
Real Prices Viewer ›


In beta testing:

STEO Data browser ›

Related Articles    
Today In Energy Daily
U.S. Energy-Related Carbon Dioxide Emissions Annual
State-Level Energy-Related Carbon Dioxide Emissions Annual
Changes to Electricity and Renewables Tables Aug-2012 PDF
Emissions of Greenhouse Gases in the United States 31-Mar-2011
Understanding the Decline in CO2 Emissions in 2009 Oct-2009 PDF
Biodiesel Supply and Consumption Apr-2009 PDF
more...