In February, I shared that the US Energy Information Administration (EIA) predicted lower greenhouse gas emissions from US energy consumption in 2009. Their earlier projection of ~2% lower emissions just shifted in their April report to a much lower 2.6% fall.
The Details: Natural Gas & Coal Demand Fall
Oil consumption remains about the same as the previous monthly Short Term Energy Outlook (STEO), falling over 2%. But the numbers for coal and natural gas are much lower than previously projected. Natural gas use is expected to fall 1.8% in 2009 on much lower industrial demand (versus the February estimate of ~1.3%). And the lower natural gas price that we are enjoying now incents some utilities to substitute coal-fired electricity with natural gas instead. Thus, coal takes the biggest dip at ~2.5% (versus the February estimate of ~1.3%).
The American Wind Energy Association’s prediction of 5+ GW of new wind capacity in 2009 will certainly help emissions fall by taking an almost 2% share of the US electricity market. If hydropower output also expands, emissions could fall even further.
A 2.5% fall in emissions in 2009 makes 1990 emission levels possible by 2015 as long as we base our economic recovery on clean energy deployment and efficiency (lowering emissions at half the rate of 2008-09 (~1.4% per year)).
I’ll keep you updated on progress as the months pass by…