Energy Consumption to Increase Faster Than Energy Production

The Energy Information Administration, a statistical agency of the U.S. Department of Energy, expects total energy consumption to increase more rapidly than domestic energy production through 2025 (Fig. 1).

As a result, net imports of energy are projected to meet a growing share of energy demand. Projected U.S. crude oil production will drop an average annual rate of 0.4% between 2001 and 2025. Total domestic petroleum production will increase from 7.7 million barrels per day in 2001 to 8 million by 2025, due to an increase in the production of natural gas plant liquids. Both domestic coal and natural gas production will see an increase over the next two decades, but the United States will continue to depend on imports to meet the rising energy demands. Fig. 2 depicts energy consumption projections by fuel type through 2025.

Energy Storage to Play a Pivotal Role in the New Power Market

Energy storage technologies could pump $175 billion into the U.S. economy over the next 15 years, according to “Energy Storage: The Sixth Dimension of the Electricity Value Chain,” a report by Pearl Street, Inc., a St. Louis-based technology deployment services firm.

The report found that electricity markets need to develop a storage component to ensure efficient operation in regulated and deregulated marketplaces. Rather than storing electricity directly, users can store energy in other forms and convert it back to electricity when needed. Technologies such as pumped-hydroelectric, compressed air, regenerative fuel cells/flow batteries, and flywheels can provide more efficient energy management, bridging power, and increased power quality and reliability. By supplying power when and where it's needed, energy storage is on the brink of becoming the “sixth dimension” of the electric power market by integrating the existing segments (fuel, generation, transmission and marketing, distribution, and energy services) into a more flexible framework, says Jason Makansi, president of Pearl Street, Inc.

“Energy storage ensures power quality; facilitates the integration of renewable generation assets into the grid; raises the productivity of existing generation, transmission, and distribution assets; and increases the efficiency and security of the power generation market,” he says.