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Short-Term Energy Outlook

Release Date: September 9, 2014  |  Next Release Date: October 7, 2014  |  Full Report    |   Text Only   |   All Tables   |   All Figures

Renewables and Carbon Dioxide Emissions

Almost 50% of the new utility-scale power generation capacity added during the first half of 2014 uses renewable energy sources. Solar-powered capacity grew about 1,150 megawatts (MW) during the first six months of 2014 compared with 690 MW added during the same period last year. The electricity industry has added 675 MW of wind capacity this year, which is more than double the amount added during the first half of 2013.

Electricity and Heat Generation from Renewables

EIA projects that total renewables use for electricity and heat generation will grow by 2.1% in 2014. Conventional hydropower generation is projected to fall by 4.2%, while nonhydropower renewables rise by 5.5%. In 2014, nonhydropower renewables generation in the electric power sector surpasses hydropower on an annual basis for the first time. In 2015, total renewables consumption for electric power and heat generation increases by 4.4%, as a result of a 4.5% increase in hydropower and a 4.4% increase in nonhydropower renewables.

EIA projects that wind power capacity will increase by 9.2% in 2014 and 16.2% in 2015. Electricity generation from wind is projected to contribute 4.6% of total electricity generation in 2015.

EIA expects continued robust growth in solar electricity generation, although the amount of utility-scale generation remains a small share of total U.S. generation at about 0.6% in 2015. While solar growth has historically been concentrated in customer-sited distributed generation installations, utility-scale solar capacity doubled in 2013. EIA expects that utility-scale solar capacity will increase by 104% between the end of 2013 and the end of 2015, with about two-thirds of this new capacity built in California. However, customer-sited photovoltaic capacity growth, which the STEO does not forecast, is expected to exceed utility-scale solar growth between 2013 and 2015, according to EIA's Annual Energy Outlook 2014.

Liquid Biofuels

Ethanol production increased from an average of 907,000 bbl/d in March to average about 940,000 bbl/d over the past 3 months, which are among the highest monthly levels ever recorded, and included the highest weekly level ever recorded at 972,000 bbl/d for the week ending June 13. Ethanol production is forecast to average 929,000 bbl/d in 2014 and 934,000 bbl/d in 2015. Biodiesel production averaged 87,000 bbl/d in 2013 and is forecast to average 80,000 bbl/d in 2014 and 84,000 bbl/d in 2015.

Energy-Related Carbon Dioxide Emissions

EIA estimates that carbon dioxide emissions from fossil fuels increased by 2.4% in 2013 from the previous year. Emissions are forecast to rise by 1.3% in 2014, and then to decline by 0.6% in 2015. The increase in total emissions in 2013 and 2014 reflects increases in emissions from coal of 4.2% and 2.1%, respectively. The price of natural gas to electric power generators rose on average by $0.91/MMBtu in 2013 and is projected to rise by $0.93/MMBtu in 2014, contributing to an increase in coal use. Coal emissions are projected to decline by 2.5% in 2015.

U.S. Renewables & CO2 Emissions Summary
  2012 2013 2014 2015
a Conventional hydroelectric power only. Hydroelectricity generated by pumped storage is not included in renewable energy.
U.S. Renewables Consumption (quadrillion Btu)
Hydroelectric Powera 2.629 2.561 2.454 2.565
Geothermal 0.212 0.221 0.221 0.225
Solar 0.227 0.307 0.417 0.524
Wind 1.339 1.595 1.713 1.807
Wood Biomass 2.010 2.138 2.165 2.158
Ethanol 1.092 1.120 1.129 1.128
Biodiesel 0.117 0.203 0.188 0.196
Waste Biomass 0.467 0.476 0.480 0.499
Total 8.093 8.620 8.761 9.101
Carbon Dioxide Emissions by Fuel (million metric tons)
Petroleum and Other Liquid Fuels 2240 2269 2278 2286
Natural Gas 1362 1391 1416 1419
Coal 1653 1722 1758 1714
Total Fossil Fuels 5255 5381 5451 5418

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