One of the topics NEI pays close attention to, of course, is the role EIA sees nuclear power playing over the next several decades. According to the report, by 2030, 20 GW of new nuclear capacity are projected to be built as well as 2.7 GW in uprates and 4.5 GW in retirements. Total nuclear capacity in 2030 is projected to increase to 118.8 GW from today's 100.3 GW. This year's nuclear projection is a step up from last year's report which forecasted nuclear will only increase to 112.6 GW by 2030.
Prior to 2006, nuclear power in the U.S. provided the second most amount of electricity behind coal. But in 2006, natural gas overtook nuclear's number two spot by the generation of about three nuclear plants. Well according to the AEO 2008 (pdf), nuclear is projected to take back its number two spot after 2020.
Here are some other highlights from the report:
As result of higher energy prices and slower U.S. economic growth (gross domestic product grows at 2.6 percent per year between 2006 and 2030 in AEO2008 compared to 2.9 percent per year in AEO2007), total primary energy consumption in the AEO2008 reference case grows more slowly then in previous AEOs, increasing at an average rate of 0.9 percent per year, from 100.0 quadrillion Btu in 2006 to 123.8 quadrillion Btu in 2030-7.4 quadrillion Btu less than in the AEO2007 reference case.The total projected capacity additions by 2030 in AEO 2008 are 271.1 GW. In AEO 2007, the total was 292 GW.
Without changes in current carbon emissions policies that are not assumed in the AEO2008 reference case, carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions grow sharply, but to lower levels than in AEO2007 because of lower primary energy consumption. Energy-related CO2 emissions are projected to grow by 25 percent in the AEO2008 between 2006 and 2030, compared to 35 percent in the AEO2007 reference case.
The projected average fuel economy of new light-duty vehicles in 2030 is 30.0 miles per gallon (mpg), or 4.7 mpg higher than the average in 2006.
Ethanol consumption grows from 5.6 billion gallons in 2006 to 13.5 billion gallons in 2012, far exceeding the required 7.5 billion gallons in 2012 in the Renewable Fuel Standard enacted as part of the Energy Policy Act of 2005. It grows to 17 billion gallons in 2030. Almost all of the ethanol is used in gasoline blending.
Total electricity consumption, including both purchases from electric power producers and on-site generation, grows from 3,821 billion kilowatthours (kWh) in 2006 to 5,149 billion kWh in 2030, increasing at an average annual rate of 1.3 percent in the AEO2008 reference case.
The natural gas share of electricity generation (including generation in the end-use sectors) remains between 20 percent and 21 percent through 2018, before falling to 14 percent in 2030. The coal share declines slightly, from 49 percent in 2006 to 48 percent in 2017, before increasing to 55 percent in 2030.
Additions to coal-fired generating capacity in the AEO2008 reference case total 130 gigawatts from 2006 to 2030 (as compared with 156 gigawatts in the AEO2007 reference case), including 9 gigawatts at coal-to-liquid plants and 45 gigawatts at integrated gasification combined-cycle plants. Given the assumed continuation of current energy and environmental policies in the reference case, carbon capture and sequestration (CCS) technology does not come into use during the projection period.
Be sure to check out the rest of the AEO 2008 Overview (pdf).