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EIA Energy Outlook 2010 Reference Case Projects Moderate Growth in US Energy Consumption, Greater Use of Renewables, and Reduced Oil and Natural Gas Imports

Assuming no new policies, growth in energy-related CO2 is driven by electricity and transportation fuel use. Source: EIA AEO2010. Click to enlarge.

Existing US policies that stress energy efficiency and alternative fuels, together with higher energy prices, will curb energy consumption growth and shift the energy mix toward renewable fuels, according to the reference case for theAnnual Energy Outlook 2010 (AEO2010) released by the US Energy Information Administration (EIA).

However, assuming no new policies, however, fossil fuels would still provide about 78% of all the energy used in 2035 and CO2 emissions from energy will grow at 0.3% per year, or 8.7% overall from 2008 to 2035. CO2 emissions from the transportation sector are projected to remain at 33% of the total in 2035, but increase from 1,925 million metric tons in 2008 to 2,115 in 2035.

US reliance on imported liquid fuels is reduced by increased domestic production and greater fuel efficiency. Source: EIA AEO2010. Click to enlarge.

AEO2010 presents updated projections for US energy consumption and production through 2035. The full AEO2010 report, including projections with differing assumptions on the price of oil, the rate of economic growth, and the characteristics of new technologies, will be released in early 2010, along with regional projections.

The reference case projections do not include the effects of potential future policies that have not yet become law—e.g., cap and trade legislation—and only include technologies that are commercially available or can reasonably be expected to become commercially available over roughly the next decade. It does include the revised handling of fuel economy standards to reflect the proposal for light-duty vehicles in model years 2012-2016. Some of the key findings are:

  • Moderate Energy Consumption Growth and Greater Use of Renewables. Total primary energy consumption grows by 14% between 2008 and 2035, as the fossil fuel share of total US energy consumption falls from 84% to 78%.

  • Aeo2010c
    Biofuels meet most of the growth in the liquid fuel supply. Source: EIA. Click to enlarge.
    Declining Reliance on Imported Liquid Fuels. Total US consumption of liquid fuels, including both fossil liquids and biofuels, grows from 19 million barrels per day in 2008 to 22 million barrels per day in 2035. Biofuels account for all of the growth, as consumption of petroleum-based liquids is essentially flat. As a result, reliance on imported oil declines significantly over the next 25 years.

    While biofuels will fall short of the 36 billion gallon RFS target in 2022, they will exceed it in 2035.

  • Aeo2010d
    Source: EIA. Click to enlarge.
    New light duty vehicle efficiency reaches 40 mpg by 2035. Mild and full hybrid systems combined will have the largest share of annual new light-duty vehicle sales by 2035, followed by flex-fuel systems.

  • Shale Gas Drives Growth in Natural Gas Production and Reduces Reliance on Imported Gas. Total domestic natural gas production grows from 20.6 trillion cubic feet in 2008 to 23.3 trillion cubic feet in 2035. With technology improvements and rising natural gas prices, natural gas production from shale grows to 6 trillion cubic feet in 2035, more than offsetting declines in conventional production.

  • Energy-Related Carbon Dioxide (CO2) Emissions Continue to Grow, Assuming No New Policies. CO2 emissions from energy grow at 0.3% per year, assuming no new policies to reduce energy-related CO2 emissions. Total energy-related CO2 emissions grow from 5,814 million metric tons in 2008 to 6,320 million metric tons in 2035, although per capita emissions fall by 0.6% per year. Most of the CO2 growth in the AEO2010 reference case is accounted for by the electric power and transportation sectors.

Other highlights of the AEO2010 reference case projections:

  • US crude oil production increases from 5 million barrels per day in 2008 to more than 6 million barrels per day in 2027 and remains at just more than 6 million barrels per day through 2035. Growth in crude oil production results from increases in offshore production and in onshore production using enhanced oil recovery techniques.

  • Total electricity consumption, including both purchases from electric power producers and on-site generation, grows by 1% per year over the projection period, from 3,873 billion kWh in 2008 to 5,021 billion kWh in 2035.

  • Natural gas and renewable power plants account for the majority of electricity generating capacity additions. The natural gas share falls slightly due to the completion of coal plants under construction, and the addition of new renewable capacity. However, by 2035 the share of generation from natural gas again increases to 21%. Renewable generation shows the strongest growth between now and 2035, spurred by incentive programs in more than half the States. The renewable share of generation grows from 9% of generation in 2008 to 17% of generation in 2035.




Why do we have to assume Business as Usual and a stead increase in energy consumption?.

We can all learn to live as well (and better) while wasting 20% to 30% less energy and certainly not use more and more energy every year.

We do not have to live in 3000 to 6000 sq.ft. houses that we cannot afford. Well insulted common sense smaller houses use 50% less energy.

We certainly dont need 3-tonnes gas guzzlers to go to work and drive around. One tonne HEVs would use 3 times less energy. E-trains use 240 times less energy per passenger miles than our current average gas guzzlers.

We certainly dont have to stuff ourselves with 4000+ calories a day until we weight 400+ lbs. Learning to eat better and a lot less could reduce the energy used for food production + transportation + preparation etc by up to 30%. Huge health care + associated energy savings and cost would also be possible.

An effective (all azimuth) program could reduce overall per capita energy consumption by 1% to 3% a year for to next 20 to 30 years. The NET energy food-print could become negative instead of positive.


California showed that people can reduce electricity usage around 10% with behavior changes and most of that is sustainable just through retained habits. If you want to go beyond that, CFLs, smart meters, set back thermostats, weatherizing and other methods help. Then you go to more efficient furnaces, hot water heaters, ACs and windows.

There are lots of ways to reduce energy consumption and live a better life. Solar thermal heating and cooling can save enough natural gas to run a car. There are ways we CAN make the situation better, but we don't because it is not convenient. Why bother when energy is cheap?


More people means more energy needed. Also you can argue all you want about smaller homes but the fact is cities depend on the taxes generated by those massive homes and properties and if you dont have large homes you dont have wealthy people.


W-2000 - more people does not really have to consume more energy. That is an acquired behaviour that lead too many people to falsely believe that bigger is better.

Vermont (USA) has reduced energy consumed by private homes and public facilities by about 30% while increasing the comfort level.

Our e-energy saving programs has been so effective in the last 5 years that our Main e-energy supplier currently has huge surpluses instead of forecasted shortages. Our comfort level has not gone down put up. Our population has also gone up not down.

The plain truth is that more people can use less energy while having higher level of comfort. We have to learn to consume better/wiser. Waste does not pay, except for the energy suppliers and their supporters.


"Why do we have to assume Business as Usual and a stead[sic] increase in energy consumption?."

So we know what to expect if we don't make any big changes.

Unlike the average participant/reader of GCC.com, most Americans are less enthusiastic about drastic measures to achieve lower energy usage in their life. If they can do it without any work, impact to their life, and for very low cost as part of normal "maintenance" - then they will embrace it.


"Unlike the average participant/reader of GCC.com, most Americans are less enthusiastic about drastic measures ..."

Patrick, the lack of enthusiasm is for measures based on falsified data. In other words fraudulent science. We are now seeing the deepening impact of Climategate as the DOE has just issued a legally binding "Litigation Hold Notice" to all DOE employees with respect to CRU and any and all "climate" related evidence.

This means that deeper investigations into the manipulation, hiding and falsification of data at any government entity doing business with CRU are just beginning. If there were any real concern for environmental ethics - these "scientists" would not now be subject to government investigation and court cases.

What some have not yet understood is that you cannot ask people to change habits, lifestyles, behavior based on phony scare scenarios. People are too smart to fall for it any longer. If you want these changes to come about - your will need to pursue them with REAL, honest non-falsified facts.

The AGW campaign and its blind supporters have set back good environmental goals by 30 years. Forget firm action on deforestation, clean water, species and habitat preservation - why?? Because some idiots were too friggin self-righteous and proud to admit they phonied the science to meet their infantile political agenda.

Pathetic meddling from misanthropic solipsists.


Sorry sulleny but all the stolen emails have now been read by an independent third party[the Associated Press]; their conclusion? No fraud.


Given that journalists have collectively been in bed with the alarmists for years, the Associated Press is hardly an independent third party.

Sulleny is right - the CRU crew has set responsible environmental science back decades.


in their scenario BEV and PHEV are almost nothing, even worse than the next post on the topic. Of course they totally ignore Peak Oil. I don't know what credibility this report has ?


AP - "independent third party??" They're the mainstay of the press corps going down on the Climategate ship.

Pathetic meddling from misanthropic solipsists.


So thousands of scientists around the world have faked the data and thousands of journalists have collectively been in bed with them? Paranoid much? I find it easier to believe you're just wrong.

Why should climate scientists be different from any other scientists? Maybe the biologists have also faked their data and going to the doctor when you're sick is a useless effort. Maybe the physicists are also lying and the computer you're using right now is just a trick.

Why is it that the only scientists you believe are frauds are the ones who are challenging your dogma?


It is logical to believe scientists are frauds if they say they are in their own emails.



Most scientists are pretty good people, but being 'good' is hardly a prerequisite for the field. Thanks to the corrupting influences of money, power, and prestige, scientists have occasionally made crap up at least since the days of Piltdown Man.

Why is it so hard to believe that a few more have done it again? It certainly doesn't mean that *every* climate scientist is willfully lying, but given how modern science builds on the work of others, it does suggest that the work of many, many scientists is suspect, for reasons beyond their control in most cases.

Will S

Factcheck.org analyzed the emails and the extant data from other sources, and come to the opposite conclusion of sulleny, Toppa Tom, Matthew, and Patrick, all of whom are vociferous in their opposition to reducing climate impacts. I'm going with the unbiased source, myself...



Will S,

Since you specifically call me out by name, please tell me what conclusion I made with regards to Climate Change, Climatologists e-mails, etc.


I would like to pick up the comment by Treehugger, i.e. "Of course they totally ignore Peak Oil". I thought that the Peak Oil theory was based on sound science (e.g. mostly peer reviewed papers). Instead the EIA curves shows kind of "Bottom Oil" trend. It is both practically and technically impossible to increase the domestic oil production in the USA, there will only be continous decline in the future. Thus, this report is not based on sound science and its credibility must be close to zero.




Mr. Henig's essay positions itself as a defense attorney would to convince readers that malfeasance is really just good old scientist rough housing.

Tell that to the Associate General Council of the DOE who has issued a "Litigation Hold Notice" to some 8,000 employees of the Department of Energy relevant to data, correspondence and materials related to “global warming, the Climate Research Unit at the University of East Anglia In England, and/or climate change science.” To be extended to other Federal Departments and Agencies.

Or to the Norwich Police Department now burdened with an official investigation of the leak/hack inclusive of each email content and content of any un-leaked correspondence, notes, data sets and code as accessory evidence to a crime scene.

Or to Senator Jeffrey Piccola, Chair of the Penn Senate Education Committee has recommended funding withheld until an official investigation of Penn State University's Earth System Science Center and Dr. Mann is complete.

Or Sir Muir Russell who heads the investigation of University East Anglia's CRU as to:

• Examine the hacked e-mail exchanges, other relevant e-mail exchanges and any other information held at CRU to determine whether there is any evidence of the manipulation or suppression of data which is at odds with acceptable scientific practice and may therefore call into question any of the research outcomes.
• Review CRU’s policies and practices for acquiring, assembling, subjecting to peer review and disseminating data and research findings, and their compliance or otherwise with best scientific practice.
• Review CRU’s compliance or otherwise with the University’s policies and practices regarding requests under the Freedom of Information Act (‘the FOIA’) and the Environmental Information Regulations (‘the EIR’) for the release of data.
• Review and make recommendations as to the appropriate management, governance and security structures for CRU and the security, integrity and release of the data it holds.

Or U.S. Senator Inhofe who has begun a Congressional investigation of Climategate evidence via the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee.

Or to dyed-in-wool AGW champion, George Monbiot who writes in his Guardian column:

"Confronted with crisis, most of the environmentalists I know have gone into denial... The response of the greens and most of the scientists I know is profoundly ironic, as we spend so much of our time confronting other people's denial.

Pretending that this isn't a real crisis isn't going to make it go away. Nor is an attempt to justify the emails with technicalities. We'll be able to get past this only by grasping reality, apologising where appropriate and demonstrating that it cannot happen again."

We might listen to our own, good advice.


What makes me laugh about climategate is the agw people franticaly making the whole thing 50000x worse by opening thier mouths and forever dispelling any doubt the general public had that they are in fact total and complete bloody morons.


Climategate: the gift that keeps on giving.



Climategate: the gift that keeps on giving.


Henry Gibson

Every time oil prices go up and natural gas prices follow and coal is subject as well to speculative price increases by cash rich oil speculators including the oil producers themselves, the French electricity consumers are amused with a small price increase so that the power company can make more profit by selling to Germany, and other neighbors. Since oil can be made from coal or even from nuclear energy, there is no peak oil. There is a relatively infinite supply of fissionable atoms in the form of uranium and thorium on the earth and in the ocean. Each pound of these atoms has about threemillionpounds of coal equivalent energy in them or 10,000,000 kilowatt hours of heat energy. Many reactor systems have been tried or proposed that can use every atom leaving only mostly shortlived isotopes of fission products. The human body as well as all other live organisms have always had long lived radioisotopes in it, and they represent no substantial danger if kept dilute. Over heating from to much sunlight and hypothermia from to little sunlight are far greater dangers. ..HG..

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