EIA urged to re-evaluate its renewable energy forecasts
In a letter sent Tuesday to Adam Sieminski, administrator of the U.S. Energy Information Administration, nearly 100 organizations and businesses urged the EIA to reconsider the methodology used in developing its renewable energy forecasts.
The letter expressed concern that "EIA's estimates in past issues of the ‘Annual Energy Outlook’ for future electrical generation from renewable energy sources in the near- and mid-term have been unreasonably low and have not been borne out by actual experience."
It noted, for example, the "reference case" in the ‘Annual Energy Outlook 2013’ projected renewable energy sources (i.e., biomass, geothermal, hydropower, solar, wind) might constitute only 14 to 16 percent of the nation's electrical generation by 2040. However, renewables already accounted for 14.2 precent of net generation during the first six months of 2013, according to EIA's own data.
The letter's signers stressed that "inasmuch as policy makers in both the public and private sectors rely heavily upon EIA data when making legislative, regulatory, investment, and other decisions, we believe underestimation can have multiple adverse impacts on the renewable energy industry and, more broadly, on the nation's environmental and energy future."
Accordingly, they recommended that EIA "re-evaluate the assumptions ... being used to develop the renewable energy forecasts for the ‘Annual Energy Outlook’ and, at the least, provide projections that more closely reflect the real-world growth rates of recent years."
(Also on Tuesday, EIA raised its estimate for U.S. gasoline demand and prices).
The full text of the letter and list of signers is as follows: