EIA Sees Energy Efficiency Slowing U.S. Energy Consumption

July 11, 2012

Increased energy efficiency will contribute to a slowing of the annual growth rate of U.S. energy consumption from 2012 to 2035, expanding at an average annual rate of 0.3%, according to a new study from the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA). The agency recently released its Annual Energy Outlook 2012, which includes both a reference case and 29 alternative cases. By comparision to the lower projections, the U.S. growth rate of energy consumption was 1.8% in 2005. In the reference case, the share of U.S. energy generation from renewables is projected to grow from 10% to 15%. The report describes how different assumptions regarding market, policy, and technology drivers affect energy production, consumption, technology, and market trends.

According to the report, the slowdown in the rate of growth in energy usage reflects increasing energy efficiency in end-use applications, among other things. In one basic scenario, EIA estimates the overall U.S. energy consumption will expand at an average annual rate of 0.3% through 2035. During this period, the United States won't return to the levels of energy demand growth experienced in the 20 years prior to the 2008-2009 recession. The authors cite existing federal and state energy requirements and incentives as playing a continuing role in more efficient technologies. Additionally, new federal and state policies could lead to further reductions in energy consumption. The document also examines the potential impact of technology change and the proposed vehicle fuel efficiency standards on energy consumption. See the EIA press release, and the complete reportPDF.