The latest long-term forecast issued by the Energy Information Agency (EIA) says that energy related carbon emissions will reach 6.410 billion tonnes in 2030, down 9.4% from last year’s forecast.
“Efficiency policies and higher energy prices … slow the rise in U.S. energy use,” the EIA said. “When combined with the increased use of renewables and a reduction in the projected additions of new coal-fired conventional power plants, this slows the growth in energy-related (greenhouse gas) emissions.”
Efficiency, Renewables, Cost
Increased efficiency and higher energy costs will slow the rise in U.S. energy use, the report says, and “When combined with the increased use of renewables and a reduction in the projected additions of new coal-fired conventional power plants, this slows the growth in energy-related (greenhouse gas) emissions.”
Renewable energy, including solar, wind, hydro, and wood burning is expected to grow 3.3% annually through 2030.
The precipitous decline of coal
In this year alone, utility company’s have canceled plans for at least 13 coal-fired plants in anticipation of coming federal mandates to cut carbon emissions and the associated “cost of carbon”. Incoming president Barack Obama has called for emissions reductions of 80% below 1990 levels by 2050. As of 2007 emissions in the U.S. were nearly 17% above 1990 levels.
Last year the report forecast 104 gigawatts of new power generation from coal. This year’s report places that figure at only 46 gigawatts. The expected decline reported in the latest EIA forecast represents about 100 fewer coal-fired plants by 2030 than in last year’s report. “It’s a tremendous sea change in the forecast for coal plant construction from last year,” said Alan Nogee, the clean energy director for the Union of Concerned Scientists.
Oil consumption levels off
With the combined effect of new CAFE standards, renewable energy mandates, and the expected rebound of oil prices as the world economy recovers from the recession the EIA forecasts, for the first time in 20 years, virtually no increase in U.S. oil consumption, with a net decline of imports.
Image credits: iStockPhoto, U.S. Department of Energy