February 7, 2018 Read More →

A Reality Gap at the U.S. Energy Information Administration

S&P Global Market Intelligence:

According to the U.S. government’s annual energy forecast, domestic electricity use is expected to grow steadily through 2050 across all sectors after decades of slowing growth. Natural gas prices will determine how much coal and nuclear capacity survives through 2030 and beyond, according to the “2018 Annual Energy Outlook” from the U.S. Energy Information Administration.

Electricity demand will slowly rise in the coming decades thanks to economic growth after falling in 2017, the report concluded.

According to the recently released report’s reference case, the average annual growth in electricity demand will reach about 0.9% from 2017 top 2050, with direct-use generation outpacing retail sales as a result of widespread adoption of rooftop solar and natural gas-fired combined heat and power.

Some experts disagree. The Outlook “says that even though load growth has been flat/negative through the entire [economic] recovery, load will magically start growing again,” tweeted Michael Wara, director of the Climate and Energy Policy Program at the Stanford Woods Institute for the Environment. “At some point you have to look at the world/data instead of your map/model.”

More ($): US power outlook: Slow growth through 2050, gas prices remain wild card

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