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Short-Term Energy and Summer Fuels Outlook

Release Date: April 12, 2016  |  Next Release Date: May 10, 2016  |  Full Report    |   Text Only   |   All Tables   |   All Figures

Renewables and Carbon Dioxide Emissions

Electricity and Heat Generation from Renewables

EIA expects total renewables used in the electric power sector to increase by 10.0% in 2016 and by 5.1% in 2017. Forecast hydropower generation in the electric power sector increases by 8.8% in 2016 and then falls by 0.4% in 2017. Renewables other than hydropower are forecast to grow by 11.0% in 2016 and by 9.9% in 2017.

EIA expects utility-scale solar photovoltaic (PV) power capacity to grow by more than 9 gigawatts (GW) in 2016, after growing by 3 GW in 2015. PV capacity is forecast to increase by an additional 1 GW in 2017. States leading in utility-scale solar capacity additions are California, Nevada, North Carolina, Texas, and Georgia. Forecast utility-scale solar power generation averages 1.1% of total U.S. electricity generation in 2017.

Wind capacity, which starts from a significantly larger installed capacity base than solar, grew by 13% in 2015, and it is forecast to increase by 8% in 2016 and by 9% in 2017. In 2017, wind generation accounts for 5.6% of total generation.

Liquid Biofuels

On November 30, EPA finalized a rule setting Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) volumes for 2014 through 2016. EIA used these final volumes to develop the current STEO forecast and assumes the 2016 targets for 2017, except the biomass-based diesel 2017 target of 2.0 billion gallons that was included in the November 30 rule. Ethanol production averaged 966,000 b/d in 2015, and it is forecast to average between 970,000 b/d and 980,000 b/d in 2016 and 2017. Ethanol consumption averaged about 910,000 b/d in 2015, and it is forecast to average about 930,000 b/d in both 2016 and 2017. This level of consumption results in the ethanol share of the total gasoline pool averaging 10.0% in both 2016 and 2017. EIA does not expect significant increases in E15 or E85 consumption over the forecast period.

EIA expects the largest effect of the proposed RFS targets will be on biodiesel consumption, which helps to meet the RFS targets for use of biomass-based diesel, advanced biofuel, and total renewable fuel. Biodiesel production averaged 82,000 b/d in 2015 and is forecast to average 100,000 b/d in 2016 and 106,000 b/d in 2017. Net imports of biomass-based diesel are expected to rise from 29,000 b/d in 2015 to 45,000 b/d in 2016 and to 47,000 b/d in 2017.

Energy-Related Carbon Dioxide Emissions

EIA estimates that energy-related emissions of carbon dioxide decreased by about 2.5% in 2015. Emissions are forecast to decrease by 0.9% in 2016, and then increase by 0.9% in 2017. These forecasts are sensitive to assumptions about weather and economic growth.

U.S. Renewables & CO2 Emissions Summary
  2014 2015 2016 2017
a Conventional hydroelectric power only. Hydroelectricity generated by pumped storage is not included in renewable energy.
b Includes electricity and heat generation
c Other renewables includes biofuels production losses and co-products
U.S. Renewables Consumption (quadrillion Btu)
Geothermal 0.214 0.224 0.232 0.235
Hydropowera 2.467 2.389 2.597 2.586
Solar 0.420 0.532 0.630 0.805
Waste Biomass 0.516 0.514 0.511 0.509
Wind 1.727 1.815 2.040 2.202
Wood Biomass 2.230 2.059 1.972 1.986
Electricity Subtotalb 7.574 7.533 7.985 8.318
Biomass-based Diesel 0.198 0.214 0.280 0.300
Ethanol 1.107 1.147 1.180 1.174
Biofuels Subtotal 1.305 1.361 1.456 1.474
Otherc 0.757 0.776 0.790 0.784
Total 9.636 9.670 10.239 10.576
Carbon Dioxide Emissions by Fuel (million metric tons)
Petroleum and Other Liquid Fuels 2252 2285 2291 2300
Natural Gas 1434 1480 1505 1523
Coal 1713 1499 1422 1443
Total Fossil Fuels 5399 5264 5218 5266

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