EIA: New Energy Act to Yield More Renewable Energy by 2020

March 19, 2008

The U.S. outlook for the growth in renewable energy use by 2020 has improved considerably in just three months, thanks to the Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007, which President Bush signed into law in December. DOE's Energy Information Administration (EIA) is revising the early release of its Annual Energy Outlook to reflect the impact of the energy act, and the latest figures show renewable energy providing 13.7 quadrillion Btu (quads) of energy by 2030, up 12% from the 12.2 quads that EIA projected back in December. For comparison, the total U.S. energy use was 99.5 quads in 2006 and is expected to increase to 118 quads by 2030. That number is 5% lower than the EIA projected in December (123.8 quads), reflecting the impact of improved fuel economy standards and new product efficiency standards.

The new projections show biomass energy use increasing to 8.12 quads by 2030, nearly triple the biomass use in 2006 and a 47% increase over the December projections, reflecting significant growth in renewable fuels. But the projections for biomass power production are less optimistic, increasing by a factor of 7.5 by 2030, compared to a ninefold increase in the December projections. The difference probably reflects the need to direct biomass towards fuel production, making less available for power production. Perhaps in compensation for that, the projections for geothermal power production are more optimistic in the revised analysis, showing it more than doubling by 2030, compared to only an 88.4% increase in the December projections. The other renewable electricity projections remain essentially the same. See the Tables A1, A16, and A17 from the EIA report (PDF 164 KB), and for comparison, see the December 19 article from this newsletter. Download Adobe Reader.