U.S. still hooked on oil in 2030, but renewables rise
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The United States will still rely on oil, natural gas and coal for its main energy supplies through 2030, but ethanol and other renewable energy sources will double during the period, the government's top energy forecasting agency said on Wednesday.
"The higher level of renewable energy consumption is partially a result of higher energy prices...but it also reflects a revised presentation of state renewable portfolio standards," the Energy Information Administration said in its annual long-term forecast.
U.S. ethanol consumption is forecast to grow from 5.6 billion gallons last year to 13.5 billion gallons in 2012, far more than the 7.5 billion gallons in 2012 required by Congress, the EIA said. Ethanol use grows to 17 billion gallons in 2030.
The agency's forecast also expects strong growth in ethanol imports after 2010 as U.S. tariffs on imported ethanol shipments expire.
State requirements for utilities to generate more of their electricity supplies from renewable sources like wind and solar power double renewable energy consumption, excluding hydroelectric power, the agency said.
However, petroleum, coal and natural gas will still meet 83 percent of total U.S. primary energy supply requirements in 2030, down only slightly from 85 percent in 2006.
"U.S. energy consumption will continue to be met predominantly by traditional fossil fuels," the EIA said.
U.S. demand for petroleum, the main source for transportation fuels, is forecast to rise 0.8 percent a year, from 21 million barrels per day in 2008 to almost 25 million bpd in 2030.
The EIA said its forecast does not reflect legislation being considered by Congress to increase fuel efficiency standards for American cars and trucks by 40 percent, which if enacted would cut U.S. oil demand by 1.1 million bpd in 2020.
U.S. oil prices would gradually decline from current levels of $90 a barrel to $58 in 2016 ($70 in nominal dollars) and $72 in 2030 ($113 in nominal dollars), as investments in exploration brings new supplies to the world market.
The agency said it expects substantial increases in conventional oil production in several OPEC and non-OPEC countries over the next 10 years.
The Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries is projected to increase its oil production at a rate that keeps the group's market share of world oil supplies in the range of 40 to 44 percent through 2030, the EIA said.
Highlights of the EIA's long-term forecast include:
* U.S. oil production rises from 5.1 million bpd in 2006 to a peak 6.4 million bpd in 2019 due to higher output from deep water drilling in the Gulf of Mexico.
* When an Alaskan natural gas pipeline is finished in 2020, the state's annual gas output jumps from 400 billion cubic feet in 2006 to 2 trillion cubic feet in 2021.
* U.S. oil refining capacity rises only 300,000 bpd by 2020 to 17.6 million bpd, then jumps to 18.6 million bpd in 2030.
* U.S. energy-related carbon dioxide emissions grow from 5,890 million tonnes in 2006 to 7,373 million tonnes in 2030.
(Reporting by Tom Doggett)