You are here

Patrick Knight

Beginning the week of March 15, many throughout have New England have been living with emergency orders relating to COVID-19. Generally speaking, these orders limit gatherings, non-essential workforces, school openings, and on-site consumption of food and drink. In effect, these orders mean that many New Englanders are staying at home at most or all times of the day.

Today’s electric system is almost unrecognizable from the electric system just a decade ago. Generation from natural gas and renewables has accelerated to replace the rapid and unprecedented retirement of coal-fired generators. Wind, solar, and geothermal electric generating capacity in the United States has now eclipsed capacities from hydroelectric and nuclear resources combined. Carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions have reached their lowest levels since 1984. Meanwhile, both total generation and electric sales have only marginally increased over 10 years.

Get in the Know on AEO: A guide to EIA’s latest energy projection through 2050

On January 29, 2020, the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) released the 2020 Annual Energy Outlook (AEO). AEO 2020 contains projections of energy use from the electric power, residential, commercial, industrial, and transportation sectors through 2050. AEO 2020’s Reference case does not represent a forecast; instead, it’s a projection based on estimates of fuel availability, changes in technology costs, and current legislation.

On September 15, 2016, the Energy Information Administration (EIA) released the final results of the Annual Energy Outlook (AEO) 2016. AEO is a critical source of information for public interest stakeholders in the energy sector.

At a webinar last week, New Perspectives on RGGI and the Massachusetts Global Warming Solutions Act,” Synapse’s Dr. Elizabeth A. Stanton hosted Senior Associate Pat Knight and Mass Energy Consumer Alliance’s Larry Chretien for a discussion of Synapse’s RGGI modeling work and the recent Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court decision on the Massachusetts Global Warming Solutions Act.

Data released May 26 by the EIA shows that March 2016 was a historically low month for coal generation in the United States. National coal generation dropped to just 72 TWh, the lowest level of monthly coal generation measured since April 1978 (see Figure 1). While before 2015 it was uncommon for natural gas generation to approach equivalent levels of coal generation, in March 2016 nearly 1.5 times as much electricity was produced from natural gas-fired generators as coal-fired generators.

On May 17, 2016, the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) published an early release of its Annual Energy Outlook (AEO) for 2016. This early release contains projections for two scenarios: a Reference case, which includes the effects of the Clean Power Plan, and a “No Clean Power Plan” case, which examines a future in which there is no Clean Power Plan. Final versions of each of these cases, along with projections for numerous other scenarios, will be available on July 7, 2016. Until then, here are some of the key highlights in the latest AEO:

Today’s electric system looks remarkably different than it looked 10—or even five—years ago. Coal generation is retiring at an unprecedented rate and being replaced by natural gas and renewables. The United States’ wind, solar, and geothermal electric generating capacity now equals capacities from hydroelectric and from nuclear resources. Carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions are at their lowest levels in 20 years, and both total generation and electric sales have remained essentially unchanged for 10 years.

New England’s growing dependence on natural gas has had some in the region worrying about supply constraints. In fact, concerns about natural gas supply and the impacts of proposed new pipelines prompted no fewer than three separate studies on the issue last year. In 2015, three consulting firms released separate reports for different clients analyzing the need for incremental natural gas pipeline in New England through 2030. The three distinctly different approaches to the studies have the potential to create uncertainty for those trying to compare the results.

On Tuesday, February 9, 2016, the Supreme Court issued a stay on EPA’s Clean Power Plan (click here to learn more about the Clean Power Plan, and click here to learn more about the expected timeline of the stay). This stay calls into question whether some states will continue to implement policies associated with the Clean Power Plan, such as increased renewables and energy efficiency.

Pages