EIA Releases Annual Energy Outlook 2011

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"The U.S. will be less reliant on imported liquid fuels in the future."

BIODIESEL magazine, Eric Voegele

The Energy Information Administration released the full version of its Annual Energy Outlook 2011 (AEO2011) report on April 26. The report addresses a wide variety of energy markets and industries, including those related to biofuels.

Key findings of the report project that the U.S. will be less reliant on imported liquid fuels in the future. This is attributed primarily to increased domestic fuel production—including biofuels—and greater fuel efficiency. According to information released by the EIA, total U.S. consumption of liquid fuels, including both fossil and biofuels, is expected to increase from ~18.8 million barrels per day (Mbpd) in 2009 to 21.9 Mbpd. in 2035. "The import share, which reached 60% in 2005 and 2006 before falling to 51% in 2009, falls to 42% in 2035," said the EIA.

The report states that the AEO2011 reference case projects that the aggregate fossil fuel share of total energy use will fall by about 5% in the next 25 years, from 83% in 2009 to 78% in 2035. During this time, the renewable share of total energy use is expected to increase from 8% 2009 to 13% in 2035. The EIA states that the increase primarily is a result of the RFS program—federal tax credits for renewable-electricity generation and state renewable portfolio standards.

Regarding markets for biofuel, the EIA states in the report that nearly all liquid biofuels are expected to be used in the transportation sector. "Biodiesel blended into diesel, E85 fuel, and ethanol blended into motor gasoline account for 54% of the growth in liquid fuel consumption from 2009–2035," said the report.

The report also addresses GHG emissions. The reference case the AEO2011 is based on assumes no explicit regulations to limit GHG emissions will be developed beyond the vehicle GHG standards that have already been established.

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