This is an excerpt from EERE Network News, a weekly electronic newsletter.

December 04, 2002

Renewable Energy Gains Ground as Report Looks Ahead to 2025

The latest projections for U.S. energy use from DOE's Energy Information Administration (EIA) present a much more favorable projection of renewable energy use than last year's report. EIA now predicts that electricity production from renewable energy sources will grow 2.1 percent per year through 2025; last year's report expected only a 1.3 percent annual growth through 2020. The result is that renewable sources will generate 495 billion kilowatt-hours of electricity in 2025, or about 9 percent of all power generation.

The projected declines in energy intensity-the amount of energy used per dollar of gross domestic product-remain the same as last year's projections, dropping 1.5 percent per year, and the total projected energy use remains roughly the same. But with a dropping market share for power production from coal, natural gas demand is projected to grow by 54 percent by 2025. To meet that demand, EIA projects increased natural gas production in the Rocky Mountains from unconventional sources such as coalbed methane, construction of an Alaskan natural gas pipeline, and expanded U.S. facilities for importing liquefied natural gas (LNG).

But despite all efforts to draw on natural gas, renewable sources, and energy efficiency, the EIA report projects that U.S. dependence on oil imports will increase. Imports currently provide 55 percent of U.S. petroleum demand; by 2025, the country will depend on imports for 68 percent of its petroleum needs. See the EIA press release, or go directly to the Annual Energy Outlook 2003. For comparison with last year's projections, see the November 21, 2001, edition of EREN Network News.