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Could the United States be a net exporter of low carbon energy by 2026 ?

According to the reference case projection published by the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) in its 2017 annual report, production of primary energy in the United States could rise by more than 20% by 2040 especially in natural gas and renewable energy. At the same time, America’s consumption is likely to grow more slowly, making the country a net energy exporter by 2026.

According to a study published by the EIA, solar, wind, biomass and geothermal energy production in the United States increased by 17% in the first half of 2016 by comparison with the first half of 2015.

As President Trump makes his first declarations on the subject of energy, the EIA’s latest projections forecast that American energy production will be chiefly linked to an increase in natural gas production and a rise in renewable energies (led by wind and solar energy). While coal production is expected to fall and that of oil to increase until 2025 before stabilizing because of the operation of less productive fields, that of natural gas could account for up to 40% of the American energy mix in 2040. At a global level, the share of natural gas in the energy mix stood at 21% in 20151, but the EIA is forecasting that it will reach 24% by 2040.

As far as consumption in the United States is concerned, the EIA expects to see a rise limited to 5% in 2040 – largely owing to efforts to achieve energy efficiency in industry – but it could be as much as 11 % in the event of strong growth.

Balance of Energy Imports and Exports Expected to Change by 2026

In this projection, the United States would logically intensify its energy exports, particularly of liquefied natural gas (LNG), to foreign markets, and thus become a net energy exporter by 2026.

The EIA is also forecasting a fall of approximately 2% in America’s CO2 emissions over the period 2016-2040, thanks to a reduced share for coal in the U.S. energy mix in favor of natural gas and renewable energies and assuming the implementation of the Clean Power Plan2.

ENGIE, a player in America’s new energy mix

Operating in the United States for many years, ENGIE is supporting the transformation of the American energy mix. The Group operates power and cogeneration plants fueled by natural gas and by renewable energy such as biomass and solar.

The Group is investing in the production of low-carbon energy, such as with the Cameron LNG project in Louisiana, a natural gas liquefaction and export facility, while maintaining its position as an important peakshaving supplier to natural gas utilities and power producers in New England through its Everett LNG terminal just north of Boston,ENGIE is also offering a range of integrated energy efficiency and storage solutions through its subsidiaries and through work with start-ups to its industrial and commercial customers.

1 Source: A World of Energy, 2016 edition, p. 22.
2 The Clean Power Plan aims for a 32% reduction in greenhouse gas emissions by comparison with 2005 levels. This is now the responsibility of each state.

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