U.S. energy sources have completely changed over the last decade. As 2020 is upon us, Axios compared the EIA’s 2010 predictions to what occurred over the past 10 years. One of the biggest drivers is the downfall of coal as a major energy source to natural gas. As technology advances to extract natural gas from tighter formations, coal has taken a backseat.
U.S. Electricity Generation
The biggest surprise of the decade was the rise of natural gas. The EIA predicted that coal would continue to grow, but the reality is that it dropped to nearly half the billions of kilowatt hours as forecasted. With new horizontal drilling and hydraulic fracturing technologies advancing, power companies are focusing their efforts on reducing coal for a cheaper input alternative.
“What happened: Stringent environmental regulations issued during the Obama administration, combined with the surprisingly plentiful supplies of cleaner-burning natural gas, drove these unexpected changes with coal and gas.”
Oil production has more than doubled the EIA’s projections – again due to the technological advancements in drilling and fracking. Companies can get more oil and gas out of both existing wells and newly drilled wells.
U.S. Natural Gas Production
The same account holds true with technological advancements and the production of natural gas. As companies can extract natural gas at reduced rates, it will continue to rise in popularity to power the U.S.
If technology continues advance at the same rates as the previous decade, any predictions made will likely have the same fate as those of 2010. Incorporating in energy policy changes and the upcoming 2020 election, the future of energy is anyone’s guess.