EIA predicts U.S. energy use to rise through 2050, driven by economic growth

March 3, 2022

Energy consumption will increase in the United States over the next 30 years under various economic scenarios as population and economic growth outpace gains in energy efficiency, our study found. Annual Energy Outlook 2022 (AEO2022), which we will post later today.

You can register to attend the AEO2022 virtual kickoff event, co-hosted by the US Energy Information Administration and the Bipartisan Policy Center, today at 2:00 p.m. EST. We will publish AEO2022 on our website after the event.

The AEO2022 Reference Scenario includes our baseline assumptions about technology, politics, and the economy out to 2050. The Reference Scenario projects a future in which slowing consumer growth in an increasingly Energy efficiency contrasts with the increase in energy supply due to technological advances in renewable energy. sources and development of petroleum and natural gas resources.

The alternative scenarios released today explore a variety of assumptions regarding economic growth, commodity prices, resource availability and technology costs relative to the baseline scenario. More alternate cases will be released over the next year.

Some of the key findings from AEO2022 include:

Oil and natural gas remain the most consumed energy sources in the United States through 2050, but renewables are seeing the fastest growth

We project that US energy consumption will continue to grow through 2050 as population and economic growth outpace gains in energy efficiency. Petroleum and other liquids will remain the most consumed fuel category until 2050 in the AEO2022 reference scenario. The transportation sector will consume the majority of these fuels, particularly motor gasoline and diesel.

Nonetheless, in all of the AEO2022 cases we report today, renewable energy generation will grow faster than any other fuel source through 2050. Natural gas consumption will also continue to grow over that time, now the second-largest share of all fuel sources, driven by expectations that natural gas prices will remain below historical levels.

US Energy Use by Fuel Source, AEO2022 Reference Case

Wind and solar incentives, along with falling technology costs, support vigorous competition with natural gas for power generation, while shares of coal and nuclear power decline in the U.S. electric mix

The share of generation from renewable energy sources, such as wind and solar, will grow rapidly over the next 30 years as state and federal policies continue to provide strong incentives for investing in renewable resources. for power generation and transportation fuels. New technologies will continue to drive down the cost of wind and solar generators, further increasing their competitiveness in the electricity market, even as the supposed policy effects fade over time.

U.S. crude oil production hits record highs, while natural gas production increasingly driven by natural gas exports

In the Reference Case, we project U.S. natural gas exports to increase through 2050, primarily due to increased liquefied natural gas capacity, global natural gas consumption, and exports by pipeline to Mexico and Canada.

From 2021 to 2050, we expect U.S. crude oil exports to remain near their projected peak and to remain essentially the same both in gross terms and as a percentage of total domestic crude oil production.

Main contributor: Mala Kline