EIA expects total renewables used in the electric power sector to
increase by 10.5% in 2016 and by 4.3% in 2017. Forecast hydropower
generation in the electric power sector increases by 7.8% in 2016 and
then falls by 2.0% in 2017. Consumption of renewable energy other than
hydropower in the electric power sector is forecast to grow by 12.9% in
2016 and by 9.6% in 2017.
EIA expects that utility-scale solar capacity will grow by 8.0 gigawatts
(GW) (60%) in 2016 and by 5.3 GW (25%) in 2017. The projected amount of
solar capacity at the end of next year, 26.7 GW, would be nearly double
the amount of capacity existing at the end of 2015. States leading in
utility-scale solar capacity additions are California, Nevada, North
Carolina, Texas, and Georgia. Forecast utility-scale solar generation
averages 1% of total U.S. electricity generation in 2017.
U.S. wind capacity totaled 72.5 GW at the end of 2015, more than five
times the amount of solar capacity. Wind capacity is expected to
increase by 7.5 GW (10%) in 2016 and by 8.5 GW (11%) in 2017. Forecast
wind generation accounts for almost 6% of total generation next year.
Note: Hydropower excludes pumped storage generation. Liquid biofuels
include ethanol and biodiesel. Other biomass includes municipal waste
from biogenic sources, landfill gas, and other non-wood waste.
On November 30, 2015, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)
finalized a rule setting Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) volumes for 2014
through 2016. On May 18, 2016, EPA released the proposed RFS volumes for
2017 along with finalized biomass-based diesel volumes for 2017. EIA
used both the final and proposed volumes to develop the current STEO
forecast through 2017. Ethanol production averaged almost 970,000 b/d in
2015, and it is forecast to average about 980,000 b/d in 2016 and 2017.
Ethanol consumption averaged about 910,000 b/d in 2015, and it is
forecast to average about 930,000 b/d in both 2016 and 2017. This level
of consumption results in the ethanol share of the total gasoline pool averaging 10.0% in both 2016 and 2017.
EIA expects that the largest effect of the RFS targets will be on
biomass-based diesel consumption, which includes both biodiesel and
renewable diesel and helps to meet the RFS targets for use of
biomass-based diesel, advanced biofuel, and total renewable fuel.
Biodiesel production averaged 82,000 b/d in 2015, and it is forecast to
average 99,000 b/d in 2016 and 106,000 b/d in 2017. Net imports of
biomass-based diesel are expected to rise from 29,000 b/d in 2015 to
41,000 b/d in 2016 and to 47,000 b/d in 2017. EIA assumes about 10,000
b/d of domestic renewable diesel consumption will be used to help meet
the biomass-based diesel and advanced biofuels RFS targets in both 2016
Energy-Related Carbon Dioxide Emissions
EIA estimates that energy-related emissions of carbon dioxide decreased by 2.7% in
2015. Emissions are forecast to decrease by 1.5% in 2016 and then
increase by 0.8% in 2017. These forecasts are sensitive to assumptions
about weather and economic growth.