Carbon dioxide emissions from U.S. energy consumption will remain near current levels through 2050, according to projections in EIA’s Annual Energy Outlook 2019. The AEO2019 Reference case, which reflects no changes to current laws and regulations and extends current trends in technology, projects that U.S. energy-related carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions will be 5,019 million metric tons in 2050, or 4% below their 2018 value, as emissions associated with coal and petroleum consumption fall and emissions from natural gas consumption rise.
Renewable generation provided a new record of 742 million megawatthours (MWh) of electricity in 2018, nearly double the 382 million MWh produced in 2008. Renewables provided 17.6% of electricity generation in the United States in 2018.
Nearly 90% of the increase in U.S. renewable electricity between 2008 and 2018 came from wind and solar generation. Wind generation rose from 55 million MWh in 2008 to 275 million MWh in 2018 (6.5% of total electricity generation), exceeded only by conventional hydroelectric at 292 million MWh (6.9% of total generation).
U.S. natural gas production grew by 10.0 billion cubic feet per day (Bcf/d) in 2018, an 11% increase from 2017. The growth was the largest annual increase in production on record, reaching a record high for the second consecutive year. U.S. natural gas production measured as gross withdrawals averaged 101.3 Bcf/d in 2018, the highest volume on record, according to EIA’s Monthly Crude Oil, Lease Condensate, and Natural Gas Production Report. U.S. natural gas production measured as marketed production and dry natural gas production also reached record highs at 89.6 Bcf/d and 83.4 Bcf/d, respectively.
The 2019 Annual Energy Outlook (AEO2019) Reference case shows continued growth of natural gas production in the Mid-Atlantic and Ohio region from the Marcellus and Utica formations, resulting in increases of natural gas being transported to the Eastern Midwest and, ultimately, into the South Central region, which includes the Gulf Coast and Texas.
While the South Central region itself contains shale plays that produce natural gas, such as the Wolfcamp in the Permian Basin and the Haynesville, natural gas consumption in the region outpaces production in the Reference case, requiring additional supplies of natural gas from other regions to meet growing demand both within the region and for liquefaction facilities that would export natural gas to other countries.
EIA’s long-term projections show that most of the electricity generating capacity additions installed in the United States through 2050 will be natural gas combined-cycle and solar photovoltaic (PV). Onshore wind looks to be competitive in only a few regions before the legislated phase-out of the production tax credit (PTC), but it becomes competitive later in the projection period as demand increases and the cost for installing wind turbines continues to decline.
Northern Virginia could become home to one of the largest solar power plants in the country, and a public hearing on the plan is set for Tuesday afternoon.
The buyers of the electricity would include Apple, Microsoft, Akamai, Etsy and the University of Richmond.
But some local residents are not sold on the idea, citing concerns about the proposed facility’s vast scale and proximity to historic battlefields.
Lawmakers at the state Capitol are introducing a bill they say would benefit Pennsylvania's solar energy industry.
House Bill 531 enables what is called community solar projects. If passed, residents or businesses could subscribe to a portion of an off-site solar project and receive credit on their electric bill for the power produced, just like if solar panels were on their roof.
Based on preliminary data, total U.S. energy consumption in 2018 will be just 0.4% below the record set in 2007. Relatively high energy consumption is attributable largely to changes in the weather: last year was very warm, and U.S. population-weighted cooling degree days (CDD, an indicator of air-conditioning demand) hit a new record in 2018.
Both 2019 and 2020 are expected to have milder weather than 2018, resulting in fewer HDDs (milder winters) and fewer CDDs (milder summers) and, consequently, less energy consumption. However, even with declines in emissions over the next two years, energy-related CO2 emissions in 2019 and 2020 are still projected to be higher than 2017 levels.
EIA expects non-hydroelectric renewable energy resources such as solar and wind will be the fastest growing source of U.S. electricity generation for at least the next two years. EIA’s January 2019 Short-Term Energy Outlook(STEO) forecasts that electricity generation from utility-scale solar generating units will grow by 10% in 2019 and by 17% in 2020. According to the January STEO, wind generation will grow by 12% and 14% during the next two years. EIA forecasts total U.S. electricity generation across all fuels will fall by 2% this year and then show very little growth in 2020.
EIA projects that the share of total U.S. electricity generation produced by all renewables other than hydropower will increase by three percentage points during the next two years, from 10% of total generation in 2018 to 13% in 2020.
EIA’s January 2019 Short-Term Energy Outlook (STEO) expects several U.S. natural gas market trends from 2018 to continue into 2019 and 2020, including relatively stable Henry Hub natural gas prices and increasing natural gas production and exports. According to the STEO, total U.S. natural gas consumption is expected to increase slightly through 2020, with increases in the electric and industrial sectors offsetting decreases in the residential and commercial sectors.
EIA expects the U.S. benchmark Henry Hub natural gas spot price to average $2.89 per million British thermal units (MMBtu) in 2019 and $2.92/MMBtu in 2020, about 25 cents lower than the 2018 average of $3.15/MMBtu. Prices in the forecast are expected to be comparable with recent years as production growth largely keeps pace with demand and export growth. NYMEX trading during the five-day period ending January 10, 2019, suggests that a range of $1.85/MMBtu to $4.80/MMBtu encompasses the market expectation for Henry Hub prices in December 2019 at the 95% confidence level.