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Short-Term Energy Outlook

Release Date: August 12, 2014  |  Next Release Date: September 9, 2014  |  Full Report    |   Text Only   |   All Tables   |   All Figures

Renewables and CO2 Emissions

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 2.8%, while nonhydropower renewables rise by 4.8%. Nonhydropower renewables generation surpass hydropower on an annual basis for the first time in 2014. In 2015, total renewables consumption for electric power and heat generation increases by 4.2%, as a result of a 3.2% increase in hydropower and a 4.7% increase in nonhydropower renewables.

EIA projects that wind power capacity will increase by 7.8% in 2014 and 15.3% 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 96% between the end of 2013 and the end of 2015; about two-thirds of this new capacity is being 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 last 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 930,000 bbl/d in 2014 and 935,000 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 1.4% 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 2.7%, 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 $0.95/MMBtu in 2014, contributing to an increase coal use. Coal emissions are projected to decline by 2.6% 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 2.489 2.569
Geothermal 0.212 0.221 0.222 0.224
Solar 0.227 0.307 0.415 0.525
Wind 1.339 1.595 1.689 1.787
Wood Biomass 2.010 2.138 2.151 2.158
Ethanol 1.092 1.115 1.129 1.130
Biodiesel 0.117 0.201 0.190 0.196
Waste Biomass 0.467 0.476 0.484 0.498
Total 8.093 8.613 8.784 9.087
Carbon Dioxide Emissions by Fuel (million metric tons)
Petroleum and Other Liquid Fuels 2240 2269 2275 2277
Natural Gas 1362 1391 1415 1422
Coal 1653 1722 1769 1724
Total Fossil Fuels 5255 5381 5458 5423

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