The Annual Energy Outlook 2010 (AEO2010) reference case by the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) presents updated projections for U.S. energy consumption and production through 2035.

“Our projections show that existing policies that stress energy efficiency and alternative fuels, together with higher energy prices, curb energy consumption growth and shift the energy mix toward renewable fuels,” said Richard Newell, EIA administrator. “However, assuming no new policies, fossil fuels would still provide about 78 percent of all the energy used in 2035.”

These reference case projections do not include the effects of potential future policies that have not yet become law and only include technologies that are commercially available or can reasonably be expected to become commercially available over roughly the next decade.

The report predicts total primary energy consumption to grow by 14 percent between 2008 and 2035, as the fossil fuel share of total U.S. energy consumption falls from 84 percent to 78 percent. It predicts biofuels to account for all of the growth, as consumption of petroleum-based liquids will essentially be flat.

More importantly, the report predicts total electricity consumption, including both purchases from electric power producers and on-site generation, to grow by 1 percent per year over the projection period, from 3,873 billion kilowatt-hours in 2008 to 5,021 billion kilowatt-hours in 2035.

According to the report, natural gas and renewable-power plants will account for the majority of electricity generating-capacity additions. The natural gas share will fall slightly due to the completion of coal plants currently under construction and the addition of new renewable capacity.

The report predicts that renewable generation will show the strongest growth between now and 2035, spurred by incentive programs in more than half the states. The renewable share of generation will grow from 9 percent of generation in 2008 to 17 percent of generation in 2035.

The full AEO2010 is available at www.eia.doe.gov.