WASHINGTON - The latest long-term outlook for United States energy use from the U.S. Department of Energy's (DOE's) Energy Information Administration (EIA) foresees a 34 percent increase in energy use by 2030, accompanied by a 37.5 percent increase in carbon dioxide emissions. The outlook also forecasts minimal renewable energy impact by 2030.

What's the best-case scenario for energy use? According to the EIA, a "high technology" scenario still results in U.S. energy use increasing 26 percent by 2030, with a 26 percent increase in carbon dioxide emissions. The scenario assumes a 22 percent increase in residential building shell efficiencies, a 10.4 percent increase in new commercial building efficiencies, an 8.9 percent increase in existing commercial building efficiencies, greater industrial efficiency with more use of biomass, and greater fuel economy improvements for transportation.

What's the most promising forecast for renewable power? In the EIA reference forecast, renewable energy capacity other than hydropower increases from about 25 gigawatts today to about 45 gigawatts in 2030, at which time it will produce about 256 billion kilowatt-hours of electricity. In the "high renewables" case, which assumes a 10 percent cost reduction for most renewable technologies, renewable power generation increases to about 350 billion kilowatt-hours. For comparison, the EIA's reference case projects total electricity use increasing to 5,341 billion kilowatt-hours by 2030.

Publication date: 02/27/2006