. . . Sources of Electricity . . .

By Editors

On the EIA's 2040 projections for sources of electrical production, the proportions between the fuels remains surprisingly similar. The spurt of output in tight oil does not affect this sector because oil is no longer used to generate electricity. Instead the major trend is the rise of natural gas. The output and the ratio among the other fuels, however, remains pretty much the same. 

Once again the horizontal axis represents the time scale while the vertical axis measures the output from the various sources in trillions of kilowatt-hours per year. This time they are displayed cumulatively so the rise in total output is visible.

Electrical output climbs from about 4 trillion kwh/y to 5 tkwh/y over the period. All sectors grow slightly but the proportions remain surprisingly constant.

Natural gas grows from about 1 tkwh/y to 2 tkwh/y. Its proportion also grows from 25 percent to 30 percent by 2040. Coal actually bottoms out in 2012 and grows slightly after that. This is based on the presumption of there will be some development in carbon capture and storage. Overall, however, its share shrinks from 42 percent today to 35 percent.

Nuclear remains almost perfectly constant throughout, indicating the slow replacement of some retiring plants but no new bursts in construction. By 2040 its share has shrunk slightly from 19 to 17 percent. Renewable expand (this time hydro is included.)  Overall, the growth is not so great, however, and by 2040 renewables have still not passed nuclear.

The EIA specifies that the electrical growth will be slightly slower than the old rate.  This is due mainly to improvements in energy efficiency.

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