Industry and the commercial sector are the exceptions to a picture of slowing energy demand in the United States, the U.S. Energy Information Administration reports.
Overall domestic consumption is expected to grow at 0.3% annually through 2040, less than half the rate of population growth, EIA projects in its Annual Energy Outlook 2015. The agency expects residential energy use to be flat while transportation energy consumption will actually decline slightly.
U.S. industry’s use of energy will outstrip its energy conservation measures, EIA predicts, resulting in an annual average growth rate of 0.7% for energy use. The agency did note, however, that energy intensity – the amount of energy used per unit of output – is expected to decline in coming decades. From 2002 to 2010, energy consumption in manufacturing declined by 17% while output fell just 3%, indicating an improvement in energy efficiency and a shift to less energy intensive parts of manufacturing in the U.S.
“Near-zero growth in energy consumption is a recent phenomenon, and there is substantial uncertainty about the main drivers of consumption as the United States continues to recover from the latest economic recession and resumes more normal economic growth,” EIA stated.
The flattening of energy use in homes and apartments is due mainly to the use of appliances covered by federal energy efficiency standards, EIA explained, and by the shift of the U.S. population south, where cooling equipment takes less energy than heating.
Federal corporate average fuel economy (CAFE) standards also are playing a major role in driving down transportation energy use.
“Gasoline consumption, which accounted for 58% of transportation consumption in 2013, falls 21% by 2040 to 47% of total transportation energy consumption, while other transportation fuels such as diesel and jet fuel increase slightly,” EIA stated.