Maddie Mckinley
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EIA's Annual Energy Outlook 2018 with projections to 2050

Energy Information Administration - EIA - Official Energy Statistics from the U.S. Government

The Annual Energy Outlook provides long-term energy projections for the United States

  • Projections in the Annual Energy Outlook 2018 (AEO2018) are not predictions of what will happen, but rather modeled projections of what may happen given certain assumptions and methodologies.
  • The AEO is developed using the National Energy Modeling System (NEMS), an integrated model that captures interactions of economic changes and energy supply, demand, and prices.
  • Energy market projections are subject to much uncertainty, as many of the events that shape energy markets and future developments in technologies, demographics, and resources cannot be foreseen with certainty.
  • More information about the assumptions used in developing these projections will be available shortly after the release of the AEO.
  • The AEO is published pursuant to the Department of Energy Organization Act of 1977, which requires the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) Administrator to prepare annual reports on trends and projections for energy use and supply.

What is the Reference case?

  • The Reference case projection assumes trend improvement in known technologies along with a view of economic and demographic trends reflecting the current views of leading economic forecasters and demographers.
  • The Reference case generally assumes that current laws and regulations affecting the energy sector, including sunset dates for laws that have them, are unchanged throughout the projection period.
  • The potential impacts of proposed legislation, regulations, and standards are not included.
  • EIA addresses the uncertainty inherent in energy projections by developing side cases with different assumptions of macroeconomic growth, world oil prices, technological progress, and energy policies.
  • Projections in the AEO should be interpreted with a clear understanding of the assumptions that inform them and the limitations inherent in any modeling effort.

What are the side cases?

  • Oil prices are driven by global market balances that are primarily influenced by factors external to the NEMS model. In the High Oil Price case, the price of Brent crude, in 2017 dollars, reaches $229 per barrel (b) by 2050, compared with $114/b in the Reference case and $52/b in the Low Oil Price case.
  • In the High Oil and Gas Resource and Technology case, lower costs and higher resource availability than in the Reference case allow for higher production at lower prices. In the Low Oil and Gas Resource and Technology case, assumptions of lower resources and higher costs are applied.
  • The effects of the economic assumptions on energy consumption are addressed in the High and Low Economic Growth cases, which assume compound annual growth rates for U.S. gross domestic product of 2.6% and 1.5%, respectively, from 2017–50, compared with 2.0%/year growth in the Reference case.
  • Cases assuming the Clean Power Plan is implemented show how the presence of that policy could affect energy markets and emissions compared with the Reference, resource, economic, and oil price cases.
  • AEO2018 will also include additional side cases—which are not discussed here—and will support a series of Issues in Focus articles that will be released in 2018.


View the attachment for the full report.

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