As time goes on, there is an increasing effort to conserve energy which will hopefully lead to electricity improvements. Whether these efforts are paying off or not can be measured by the United States Energy Information Administration (EIA). Each year they release a report that reviews usage in America in an attempt to make predictions about energy for the coming year and beyond. Let’s take a look at what they are predicting for 2017 and see if these will lead to electricity improvements.
Unknown Factors in Electricity Improvements
Before taking a look at what the EIA is predicting for the coming year, one must consider that there are always factors that make predictions difficult. These could include new or existing regulations or laws and changing and previous improvements. For the coming year, this could include a law passed last year in California called State Law SB-32. The reason for passing this law was to attempt to get greenhouse gas emissions to 40% below the level it was in 1990. Lawmakers believe that enforcing this will have a positive impact that will lead to electricity improvements in other parts of the United States due to the large energy market in California.
Predictions for Possible Electricity Improvements
Despite certain unknowns, the EIA is still able to make some predictions on what is expected in the coming year and overall. These are as follows:
Weakening Demand for Crude Oil Imports: Over the years, the reliance on crude oil has been going down and this trend is predicted to continue in 2017. The lower 48 onshore tight oil, which is currently the primary source for crude oil production in the nation, will be responsible for about 60% of the United States total domestic production.
Increase in Reliance on Renewable Energy Sources: The EIA also predicts that there will be a significant increase in reliance on renewable energy sources like solar and wind. This is largely due to the current Clean Power Plan that was put into effect by the Obama Administration. The Plan requires that power plants and other organizations reduce carbon emissions caused by fossil fuels and outdated equipment and increase their use of renewable energy sources. The Plan also offers tax credits to those who make this shift, in an effort to reduce costs that may result from obtaining updated equipment.
Increased Demand for Solar Power: Because of the increased demand for solar power, the equipment and installation cost has decreased. Also, itsoutput is highest during periods of high demand, thus, usage is continuing its uphill climb.
Room For Improvements
Despite these overall electricity improvements, there is always more room for things to get better. Here are some things that can be addressed to improve the conservation situation in America and other areas of the world.
The Grid: The Grid is responsible for power distribution and impacts the way energy is stored. The EIA recommends that the nation increases its efforts towards energy storage in accommodating multiple grid services including spinning reserve and renewable integration.
Retiring Generators: As generators age, they don’t work efficiently and become dirty. The EIA advises that companies pay attention in determining when they need to be replaced and to act promptly if necessary. Each generator has a lifespan and companies should take note of it.
Improvement of Renewable Energy Application: It’s great to use renewable energy but the process of its use can be improved. In areas like transmission, surges of power and wind can be an issue.
Electricity in the Future
All of these predictions can provide significant electricity improvements, not just for 2017, but for years to come. Here are some of the things the EIA is foreseeing:
- A decrease in the use of fossil-fuel-generating technologies.
- Increase in renewable energy technologies, carrying on in the spirit of the Clean Power Plan and tax credits.
- An increase in the dependence on renewable energy and natural gas generation, whether the Clean Power Plan continues or not.
- The ‘generation mix’ is the percentage of different energy sources used to generate electricity. This may vary according to the price of natural gas and the electricity demand.
So, it seems that America is on the right path as far as electricity improvement goes. However, there is always room for more to be done. It’s also important for Americans to continue their efforts towards supporting renewable energy and conserving where possible. The EIA will continue to supply data in the hopes that this will help to make a more energy efficient nation and provide information for a conservative future.