Brief: Hydro generation to be constant but hydro’s share of all renewables to be halved by 2050

The U.S. will become a net energy exporter in 2020 and remain so through 2050, according to the recent Annual Energy Outlook 2019 released by the U.S. Energy Information Administration.

This is attributed to a combination of slow growth in U.S. energy consumption and large increases in crude oil, natural gas and natural gas plant liquids production, EIA says.

The power sector experiences a notable shift in fuels used to generate electricity, driven in part by historically low natural gas prices. Increased natural gas-fired electricity generation, larger shares of intermittent renewables, and additional retirements of less economic coal and nuclear plants occur during the projection period.

Hydroelectric power is expected to continue contributing to electricity supply at about the same level of capacity as is currently installed, but it is anticipated to drop from 38% of all renewable production in 2018 to 18% in 2050. Solar PV is expected to be the dominant source of renewable electricity production by 2050, at 48% of the total.

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