U.S. Decouples Economic Growth from Energy Demand
With GDP rising 12% and energy use falling 3.6% since 2007, the United States is seeing economic activity “decouple” from energy demand, Utility Dive reports, citing analysis by Bloomberg New Energy Finance and the Business Council for Sustainable Energy.
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With renewable energy deployment rising rapidly, domestic natural gas consumption and exports hitting record levels, and the economy becoming more energy-efficient, “the U.S. has truly ‘decoupled’ economic growth from energy demand,” the report states. That development makes the country “one of the most attractive markets in the world for companies whose operations entail significant energy-related costs,” with retail power rates lower than China, India, Mexico, and Japan.
Utility Dive says renewable energy’s share of U.S. electricity generation has almost doubled, from 8% to 15%, since 2007. Over the same period, natural gas increased from 22 to 34% of total supply. That means gas, renewables, and large hydro now deliver about half of the country’s electricity generation.
“The ascendancy of natural gas, influx of renewables, expansion of combined heat and power and other distributed power sources, adoption of demand-side efficiency technologies, and deployment of advanced vehicles are all contributing to a long-term decline in overall U.S. greenhouse gas emissions,” BNEF noted, with greenhouse gas emissions hitting a 25-year low last year. Electric utilities invested more than US$6 billion in energy efficiency programs in 2015, while gas utilities spent $1.4 billion.