U.S. ENERGY INFORMATION ADMINISTRATION
Economic Growth Seen As Key Determinant for Future Energy Use
With a growing economy, U.S. energy demand is projected to increase 32 percent from 1999 to 2020, reaching 127 quadrillion Btu, assuming no changes in Federal laws and regulations. Faster or slower economic growth and faster or slower penetration of energy-efficient and renewable energy sources impact the forecast for energy demand, according to alternative forecasts released today by the Energy Information Administration (EIA) in its Annual Energy Outlook 2001. Part of this report, the Reference Case forecast, was released on the EIA Internet site and at a press conference on November 28.
Economic growth is a major determinant of both energy demand and carbon dioxide emissions. The Reference Case forecast assumes that the U.S. gross domestic product (GDP) will grow at an average annual rate of 3.0 percent from 1999 through 2020. If the economy grows at a more rapid rate of 3.5 percent annually, the demand for energy in 2020 is projected to be 7 percent higher than the Reference Case level of 127 quadrillion Btu, and projected carbon dioxide emissions increase by 152 million metric tons carbon equivalent, or 7 percent, in 2020, compared to the Reference Case (Figure 1). If the economy grows at a slower rate of 2.5 percent per year, energy demand is projected to be 6 percent lower in 2020 than in the Reference Case, and projected carbon dioxide emissions would be reduced by 125 million metric tons carbon equivalent, or 6 percent, in 2020, compared to the Reference Case.
In the Reference Case, the energy intensity of the U.S. economy, measured as energy used per dollar of GDP, is projected to decline at an average annual rate of 1.6 percent through 2020 as more efficient energy-using technologies become available and penetrate the market. In a high technology case, more rapid improvement in the cost and efficiencies of advanced technologies and in their adoption than assumed in the Reference Case is projected to lower energy demand by 6 percent and carbon dioxide emissions by 166 million metric tons carbon equivalent, or 8 percent, in 2020, relative to the Reference Case (Figure 2). However, technology could also develop at a slower rate than in the Reference Case. Assuming that the efficiencies of energy-using technologies do not change from those available today increases projected energy demand by 5 percent and carbon dioxide emissions by 116 million metric tons carbon equivalent, or 6 percent, in 2020, compared to the Reference Case.
EIA analyzed a number of other cases, including:
The Annual Energy Outlook 2001 also includes the analysis of the macroeconomic projections, world oil and domestic natural gas markets, distributed generation, and the status of electricity restructuring and discusses recent and proposed regulatory changes in energy markets and other current energy issues. The report can be accessed on EIA's Internet site at http://www.eia.gov/oiaf/archive/aeo01/index.html. More detailed, regional projections are also available at http://www.eia.gov/oiaf/archive/aeo01/supplement/index.html, and the assumptions underlying the projections are available at http://www.eia.gov/oiaf/archive/aeo01/assumption/index.html.
EIA Program Contacts: Mary J. Hutzler, 202/586-2222