One of the Energy Information Administration’s (EIA) tasks is analyzing the future of the US energy economy. This year’s report, released today, looks forward to 2040. And the picture it foresees is one where the US becomes increasingly energy independent, driven in part by our better ability to extract fossil fuels in part by increased efficiency. Meanwhile, the electric sector will shift toward renewables, but the shift will be limited by a slowdown in demand.
As the report notes, there’s no way of telling exactly what the future will hold. So the Administration has built a number of scenarios and analyzed each. Three of them involve different levels of economic growth, from 1.8 percent annual GDP increase up to 2.9 percent. There are also high and low fossil fuel prices, as well as a scenario where further technological improvements increase our ability to extract oil and gas.