Oil Prices, Renewable Energy Use Continue to Rise

Wind turbines and solar panels against a blue sky

The U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) recently offered a summary of critical, energy-related statistics in their Short-Term Energy Outlook. Highlights of the report include:

  • Crude oil prices averaged $63 per barrel in November, an increase of $5/b from October.
  • The EIA is forecasting prices to average $57/b in 2018, up $4 from 2017.
  • U.S. crude oil production averaged 9.7 million barrels per day in November, up 360,000 b/d from October.
  • Most of this increase was in the Gulf of Mexico, where production grew by 290,000 b/d from October. The increase in November reflected production platforms returning to operation after Hurricane Nate.
  • The EIA forecasts total U.S. crude oil production to average 9.2 million b/d for all of 2017 and 10 million b/d in 2018, which would mark the highest ever annual average production. The previous record was 9.6 million b/d in 1970.
  • U.S. gas prices averaged $2.56 per gallon in November, an increase of nearly six cents/gal from the previous month. The increase in November stemmed primarily from increasing crude oil prices.
  • The EIA is forecasting gas prices to average $2.59/gal in December – a 34 cents/gal year-over-year increase.
  • Retail gas prices are predicted to average $2.51/gal in 2018.
  • U.S. natural gas production is forecast to increase slightly in 2017 but by more than eight percent in 2018.
  • The total share of utility-scale electricity generation from natural gas will be 32 percent in 2017, a two percent drop from 2016. This reduction is attributed to higher natural gas fuel costs and increased generation from renewable energy sources.
  • Coal’s share in electricity generation will be 30 percent in 2017, about the same as last year, but coal production is up about eight percent in 2017
  • Generation from renewable energy sources other than hydropower is projected to grow from eight percent in 2016 to 10 percent in 2018.
  • Wind’s electricity generating capacity is projected to grow by 18.5 percent from 2016 levels and to be supplying 96 GW by the end of 2018. 
  • For utility-scale solar electricity generation, capacity is projected to grow by 26.7 percent by the end of 2018, reaching 30 GW.
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