According to the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) energy-related carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions in 2013 are expected to be 2% above the 2012 level. The EIA ascribes this to a small increase in coal consumption in the electric power sector.
However, emissions in 2013 are more than 10% below 2005 levels. This level of reduction is expected to continue through 2015, according to EIA's most recent Short-Term Energy Outlook. The administration has committed to a 17% reduction in emissions from the 2005 level by 2020.
- Weak economic growth in the last few years
- Continuously improving energy efficiency across the economy, including buildings and transportation
- High energy prices over the past four years (with the exception of natural gas)
- An abundant supply of natural gas and low prices due to increasing shale-gas production
- Natural gas and renewables displacing coal
The EIA Short-Term Energy Outlook projects that renewables used for electricity and heat generation will grow by 3.0% in 2014 and by 4.7% In 2015.
EIA estimates that wind capacity will increase by 8.8% in 2014 to about 66 gigawatts (GW) by the end of the year and will increase 14.6% to total more than 75 GW at the end of 2015. Electricity generation from wind is projected to contribute more than 5% of total electricity generation by the end of 2015.
EIA currently projects that utility-scale solar capacity will increase by approximately 40% between year-end 2013 and year-end 2015, with photovoltaic (PV) capacity accounting for about 85% of that growth.
EIA projects that solar PV electric capacity will continue to grow in 2014 and 2015 in both the electric power and end-use sectors, and will dominate growth in solar thermal electric capacity, due in part to significant reductions in the price of solar PV panels in recent years.