EIA Solar Projections ‘Unduly Conservative,’ Says Sun Day

In a new study, the non-profit research group Sun Day Campaign says the US Energy Information Administration’s assertions that renewable energy sources will provide only 16 percent of the nation’s net electrical generation by the year 2040 are unduly conservative.

Sun Day says it used EIA’s own previously published data to show that it’s more likely the 16 percent level could be reached within five years.

In its “early release overview” of the Annual Energy Outlook 2014 published December 16, 2013 with the final release of the full report set for April 30, 2014, the EIA’s Reference Case foresees renewable energy sources (biomass, geothermal, hydropower, solar, wind) accounting for 16 percent of the nation’s net electrical generation by 2040. However, Sun Day says EIA’s own published data for the 11-year period January 1, 2003 through December 31, 2013 reveal that the percentage of the nation’s net electrical generation represented by renewable energy has expanded from less than 9 percent in 2004 to nearly 13 percent in 2013, and that given the relatively consistent growth trends of the past decade or longer for most renewable energy sources and their declining costs, it seems improbable that it will require another 27 years to grow from 13 percent to 16 percent.

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