EIA releases first chapters of AEO2013, interactive data tool

By Erin Voegele | April 17, 2013

On April 15, the U.S. Energy Information Administration released the initial sections of its Annual Energy Outlook 2013 (AEO2013), including a chapter on legislation and regulations that discusses evolving legislative and regulatory issues, and a market trends chapter that highlights and summarizes selected aspects of energy market projections. Additional chapters will be released periodically through May 2, when the complete AEO2013 will be available.

The AEO2013 reference case was released in early December. It includes projections for the U.S. energy market through 2040, taking into account only policies that were enacted through law and established via final regulations as of the close of September 2012.

While the reference case might not take into account new laws and regulations finalized since September 2012, or those that are likely to be enacted in the future, many of those regulatory changes are addressed in alternative cases analyzed by the EIA. For example, the AEO2013 chapter on legislation and regulations released on April 15 notes that the report addresses the impacts of all renewable portfolio standard (RPS) laws in effect in the 48 contiguous states at the end of 2012.

According to information contained in the chapter, the EIA projects that RFS-qualified power generation will continue to meet or exceed aggregate targets for state RPS programs through 2040. The chapter outlines recent modifications made to RPS programs in California, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New Jersey and Ohio. The changes have been reflected in table published as part of the document that includes an overview of existing RPS programs in 30 states and the District of Columbia.   

The market trends chapter released on April 15 also includes data that is of interest to the biomass industry. For example, the chapter includes data predicting that the renewable share of total U.S. energy use will increase from 9 percent in 2011 to 13 percent in 2040. Liquid biofuels account for 2 percent of total energy use in 2040, with other renewables accounting for 11 percent.

An interactive data table published as part of the AEO2013 allows users to analyze countless different energy scenarios. By selecting “renewable energy” as the subject filter “renewable energy generation by fuel” as the table, users have the opportunity to see how 14 different scenarios impact the projected generating capacity for wood and other forms of biomass through 2040. For example, the tool allows users to compare how the GDP growth rate, the cost of coal, and possible future prices on carbon dioxide might impact the establishment of biomass power capacity in the future.