Quantcast

Federal Forecast for Renewables Surprisingly Low

Business

The federal agency responsible for collecting and analyzing data on all sources of energy thinks very little of the potential impact of renewable power in the future.

The U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) today released an early and abridged version of its 2014 Annual Energy Outlook with forecasts for all energy sectors. The EIA projects solar, wind and other renewable energy sources will account for 28 percent of U.S. electrical growth over the next 25 years.

The agency also believes that renewables will account for just 16 percent of U.S. energy generation by 2040. The advance edition of the report was not well received by those who promote the adoption of renewable energy.

Graphic credit: U.S. Energy Information Administration

"Even if government support lessens in future years, competitive and ever-lower prices coupled with the pressures of climate change virtually assure that renewables will continue to grow at rapid rates that substantially exceed EIA's projections," said Ken Bossong, executive director of the SUN DAY Campaign.

"Inasmuch as policy makers in both the public and private sectors rely heavily upon EIA data when making legislative, regulatory, investment, and other decisions, the agency has a responsibility to provide better renewable energy projections that more closely reflect the real-world growth rates of recent years."

The EIA's predictions are a far cry from the assertions made by the likes of Alternet and Stanford University professor Mark Jacobson, who both believe the U.S. and the rest of the planet can be powered by renewables. However, the EIA's projection for renewables nearly mirrors the International Energy Agency's (IEA) outlook for the world. The latter organization said nuclear and renewable energy would combine to meet 40 percent of power demands by 2040, as fossil fuel subsidies and costs associated with renewables decrease. IEA believes renewables would meet about half of that 40 percent.

Bossong used some of EIA's figures from other reports, along with those of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC), to further argue how off-base he finds the projections to be:

  • Ten years ago, non-hydro renewables accounted for 2 percent of U.S. electrical generation, tripling to more than 6 percent in 2013. The sources of power have grown every year over the past decade, unlike nuclear, coal, natural gas and oil.

  • From 2003 to 2012, wind power output grew more than twelve-fold and is on track to increase by another 20 percent this year. Wind now accounts for more than 4 percent of the nation's net electrical generation and many wind farms in the planning stages or under construction will provide electricity at a cheaper rate than fossil fuels or nuclear power.

  • Over the same nine-year period, solar power output increased by more than eight times and, in recent years, has been sustaining the highest growth rates of all energy sources, accompanied by rapid price drops.

"(EIA) continues a trend of low-balling forecasts for the future contribution of renewable energy sources to the nation's electricity production that have not been borne out by actual experience," Bossong said.

Visit EcoWatch’s RENEWABLES page for more related news on this topic.

EcoWatch Daily Newsletter

Oil palm plantations in northeastern Borneo, state of Sabah, Malaysia. Recently planted oil palms can be seen in the bright green grassy areas and a tiny bit of natural rainforest still struggles for survival farther away. Vaara / E+ / Getty Images

Palm Oil importers in Europe will not be able to meet their self-imposed goal of only selling palm oil that is certified deforestation-free, according to a new analysis produced by the Palm Oil Transparency Coalition, as Bloomberg reported.

Read More Show Less
Scientists found the most melting near Mould Bay on Prince Patrick Island, NWT, Canada. University of Alaska Fairbanks Permafrost Laboratory

The Canadian Arctic is raising alarm bells for climate scientists. The permafrost there is thawing 70 years earlier than expected, a research team discovered, according to Reuters. It is the latest indication that the global climate crisis is ramping up faster than expected.

Read More Show Less
Sponsored
Pixabay

By Jillian Kubala, MS, RD

Cherries are one of the most beloved fruits, and for good reason.

Read More Show Less
A fuel truck carries fuel into a fracking site past the warning signs Jan. 27, 2016 near Stillwater, Oklahoma. J Pat Carter / Getty Images

By Jessica Corbett

For more than three decades, the U.S. government has mismanaged toxic oil and gas waste containing carcinogens, heavy metals and radioactive materials, according to a new Earthworks report — and with the country on track to continue drilling and fracking for fossil fuels, the advocacy group warns of growing threats to the planet and public health.

Read More Show Less
European Union blue and gold flags flying at the European Commission building in Brussels, Belgium. 35007/ iStock / Getty Images Plus

Newly adopted guidelines set forth by the European Commission Tuesday aim to tackle climate change by way of the financial sector. The move comes to bolster the success of the Sustainable Action Plan published last year to reorient capital flows toward sustainable investment and manage financial risks from climate change, environmental degradation and social issues.

Read More Show Less
Sponsored
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau delivering remarks to supporters at a Liberal Climate Action Rally in Toronto, Ontario on March 4. Arindam Shivaani / NurPhoto / Getty Images

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced Tuesday that his government would once again approve the expansion of the Trans Mountain pipeline, which would triple the amount of oil transported from Alberta's tar sands to the coast of British Columbia (BC).

Read More Show Less
An exhausted polar bear wanders the streets of Norilsk, a Siberian city hundreds of miles from its natural habitat. IRINA YARINSKAYA / AFP / Getty Images

An exhausted, starving polar bear has been spotted wandering around the Siberian city of Norilsk, Reuters reported Tuesday. It is the first time a polar bear has entered the city in more than 40 years.

Read More Show Less
Bumblebees flying and pollinating a creeping thyme flower. emeliemaria / iStock / Getty Images

It pays to pollinate in Minnesota.

Read More Show Less