How does shale gas fit in to the future of America’s mix of energy sources?
Shale gas is an important part of meeting our future energy demand. Between 2000 and 2006, natural gas production from shale formations grew by an average of 17 percent per year, and by an average of 48 percent per year from 2006 to 2010. And that is only the beginning as the EIA projects that total national gas production from shale could grow by almost threefold from 2009 to 2035.Thanks to increased domestic production, natural gas imports are also expected to shrink to 1 percent over that same time period, from roughly 12 percent today.
The outstanding statistic in the EIA’s preview of its 2012 Annual Energy Outlook is the natural gas forecast. EIA says that gas from shale and tight gas will account for 70 percent of the United States’ overall natural gas supply in 2035. Breaking that down, shale gas production is projected to increase to 13.6 trillion cubic feet in 2035—or 49 percent of total U.S. dry gas production. When you add in tight gas—natural gas extracted from other kinds of rock via fracking— you get to 70 percent of the U.S. gas supply.
Renewable energy sources—including wind, solar and biomass—are expected to provide 13 percent of America’s energy supply in 2035, up from 8 percent in 2009. This growth is encouraging; renewable energy sources are an important part of America’s future energy mix. Further developments and new technologies to advance energy efficiency will also play a critical role in maximizing future resources.
But by 2035, the total U.S. fossil fuel volume—including oil, natural gas and coal—will also increase. In fact, the EIA projects that 78 percent of America’s energy will still come from fossil fuels more than two decades from now.
Over the next 25 years, the U.S. population is projected to increase by about one-third—from just over 300 million to almost 400 million people. The U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) projects the United States will need more than 16 percent additional energy by 2035—energy to sustain and aid our country’s economic recovery, to heat the homes and power the cars of a growing population, and to help American businesses create new technologies, goods and medicines.
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