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Country insight – US

The rapid increase in renewables generation sharply reduces coal’s share in the US power mix

Highlights

-4% to -30%

Decline in primary energy 2020-2050

15%

Share of global hydrogen consumption in 2050

56% to 69%

Share of renewables in power generation by 2050

Under Business-as-usual (BAU) oil demand in the US peaked in 2019, and under ‎Net Zero it drops over 80% by 2050‎
 
Efficiency plays a key role in the US’s decarbonization, with primary energy ‎declining 30% over the outlook under Rapid
 
The US becomes a major producer and consumer of hydrogen under Rapid and ‎Net Zero

 

Projections

  • The US economy grows at a rate of 1.7% ‎per annum 2018-2050, down from ‎‎2.5% from 1990-2018‎. Primary energy consumption in the US ‎declines by more than a quarter in ‎Rapid and Net Zero, primarily ‎reflecting efficiency measures in ‎buildings and electrification in ‎transport.
  • The EV share of the US passenger ‎vehicle fleet reaches 93%, 96%, and ‎‎31% by 2050 in Rapid, Net Zero, and ‎BAU respectively.
  • Oil demand plateaus before 2025 in all ‎scenarios, from a combination of ‎COVID-related behavioural change, ‎efficiency and electrification.‎
  • Renewables reach almost 60% of the ‎power mix in BAU, while they account ‎for 63% in Rapid and 69% in Net ‎Zero.‎
  • Coal’s share of the US power generation mix declines sharply, falling from 33% to 0% in Rapid and Net ‎Zero and just 3% in 2050 in BAU.‎
  • Nuclear’s share in power falls from 20% to 16% in Net Zero and to 2% in BAU. It remains at 20% in Net ‎Zero.‎
  • Gas’ share in primary energy falls slightly from 30% to 25% in Rapid, while it halves in Net Zero and ‎grows to 36% in BAU. US LNG exports increase almost tenfold by 2050 in BAU and Rapid, and its ‎share of global LNG exports increases from 10% to around 25%, respectively.
  • These effects reduce net CO2 emissions by 5.3% p.a. between 2018-50 in Rapid (to 1 GtCO2). Emissions ‎fall by 11% p.a. to reach 0.1 GtCO2 by 2050 in Net Zero.‎
  • In BAU the 1.3% yearly decline is on par with the trend of the last decade (1.1%). 
  • 15% (or 5 GtCO2) of the decline to achieve the Net Zero scenario occurs in the US, second only to China.‎
  • CCS technologies abate 10% of US carbon emissions reductions, falling by 450-590 Mt in Rapid and Net ‎Zero.
  • Hydrogen reaches 14% of primary energy in Rapid, almost 30% in Net Zero, but less than 1% in BAU. A ‎quarter of the hydrogen consumed comes from natural gas in Rapid. The US accounts for around 15% ‎of global hydrogen demand, behind China.