US energy consumption ‘will grow for next 30 years’ – EIA

8 March 2022

Energy consumption will increase in the United States over the next 30 years across a variety of economic scenarios as population and economic growth outpace energy efficiency gains, according to the US Energy Information Association’s Annual Energy Outlook 2022 (AEO2022).

The AEO2022 Reference case includes its baseline assumptions about technology, policy, and the economy through to 2050. This case projects a future in which slowing growth in consumption in an increasingly energy-efficient U.S. economy contrasts with increasing energy supply because of technological progress in renewable sources and resource development of oil and natural gas.

The alternative cases explore a variety of assumptions regarding economic growth, commodity prices, resource availability, and technology costs compared with the Reference case. EIA intends to release studies of alternative cases during the coming year.

Key findings from AEO2022 include:

  • Petroleum and natural gas remain the most-consumed sources of energy in the United States through to 2050, but renewable energy is the fastest growing.
  • EIA projects that US energy consumption will continue to grow through to 2050 as population and economic growth outpace energy efficiency gains.   
  • Petroleum and other liquid fuels will remain the most-consumed category of fuels through to 2050 in the AEO2022 Reference case. The transportation sector will consume the major part of these fuels, particularly motor gasoline and diesel.
  • In all of the AEO2022 case results being released at this point, production of renewable energy will grow more quickly than any other fuel source through to 2050. Consumption of natural gas will also continue to grow over this period, maintaining the second-largest share of all fuel sources, driven by expectations that natural gas prices will remain lower than historical levels.

Renewables share 

The share of generation from renewable energy sources, such as wind and solar, will rapidly increase over the next 30 years as state and federal policies continue to provide significant incentive to invest in renewable resources for electricity 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 assumed policy effects lessen over time.

Gas exports

In the Reference case, EIA projects that US natural gas exports will rise through to 2050, primarily driven by increases in liquefied natural gas capacity, global natural gas consumption, and pipeline exports to Mexico and Canada.

From 2021 through 2050, it projects that US crude oil exports will remain near their projected peak and that they will remain mostly the same in both gross terms and as a percentage of total domestic crude oil production.

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