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Short-Term Energy Outlook

Release Date: July 8, 2014  |  Next Release Date: August 12, 2014  |  Full Report    |   Text Only   |   All Tables   |   All Figures

Renewables and CO2 Emissions

Electricity and Heat Generation from Renewables

EIA projects total renewables use for electricity and heat generation will grow by 2.9% in 2014. Conventional hydropower generation is projected to fall by 0.8%, while nonhydropower renewables rise by 4.9%. In 2015, total renewables consumption for electric power and heat generation increases by 4.0%, as a result of a 3.5% increase in hydropower and a 4.2% increase in nonhydropower renewables.

EIA projects that wind power capacity will increase by 8.6% in 2014 and 13.9% in 2015. Electricity generation from wind is projected to contribute 4.5% 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 0.5% 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 88% between the end of 2013 and the end of 2015; about 70% 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 an estimated 949,000 bbl/d in June, which was the highest monthly level of the year 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 932,000 bbl/d in 2014 and 940,000 bbl/d in 2015. Biodiesel production averaged 89,000 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 (CO2) emissions from fossil fuels increased by 2.2% in 2013 from the previous year. Emissions are forecast to rise by 1.7% in 2014, and then to decline by 0.9% in 2015. The increase in emissions in 2013 and 2014 reflects growth in coal consumption for electric power generation. Coal emissions are projected to decline by 2.6% in 2015.

On June 4, the 24th allowance auction was held for the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI). RGGI involves nine northeastern and mid-Atlantic states (Connecticut, Delaware, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New York, Rhode Island, and Vermont). Each allowance permits one short ton of CO2 emissions. The clearing price was $5.02 per short ton, and more than 18 million allowances were sold to 43 bidders. The average clearing prices in prior-year auctions were $1.93 per short ton in 2012 and $2.92 per short ton in 2013.

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 2.540 2.628
Geothermal 0.212 0.221 0.223 0.226
Solar 0.227 0.307 0.413 0.510
Wind 1.339 1.595 1.702 1.784
Wood Biomass 2.010 2.138 2.137 2.148
Ethanol 1.092 1.116 1.130 1.138
Biodiesel 0.117 0.201 0.186 0.196
Waste Biomass 0.467 0.476 0.487 0.505
Total 8.093 8.613 8.811 9.136
Carbon Dioxide Emissions by Fuel (million metric tons)
Petroleum and Other Liquid Fuels 2246 2262 2275 2279
Natural Gas 1362 1391 1411 1404
Coal 1653 1722 1779 1732
Total Fossil Fuels 5262 5375 5464 5415

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