December 14, 2007

U.S. sees renewable energy use doubling by 2030

The Energy Information Administration (EIA) released it's forecasts for energy usage through 2030. It predicts a large increase in renewable energy, with wind and biomas making the largest gains between now and 2030.

The United States will still rely on oil, natural gas and coal for its main energy supplies through 2030, but ethanol and other renewable energy sources will double during the period, the government's top energy forecasting agency said on Wednesday.

The bad news is that since renewables make such a small percentage of our overall energy production at the present time that even with doubling the the amount of renewable energy produced by 2030, renewables will still only account for a small percentage.

But because renewables represent such a tiny part of energy production, doubling their use will take only a small bite out of demand for fossil fuels. Petroleum, coal and natural gas will still meet 83 percent of total U.S. primary energy supply requirements in 2030, down only slightly from 85 percent in 2006.

There were some other interesting things to note in the report as well.

U.S. demand for petroleum, the main source for transportation fuels, is forecast to rise 0.8 percent a year, from 21 million barrels per day in 2008 to almost 25 million bpd in 2030.

This number doesn't include what effects raising the CAFE requirement will have on future demand, but when coupled with the EIA's projection on future refinery output it highlights a general trend.

U.S. oil refining capacity rises only 300,000 bpd by 2020 to 17.6 million bpd, then jumps to 18.6 million bpd in 2030.

Together these two projections show that the limited refinery production that is partly to blame for our high gasoline prices will continue well into the future.

U.S. sees renewable energy use doubling by 2030

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