Coalition wants US EIA to revamp renewable energy estimates

Washington (Platts)--10Sep2013/256 pm EDT/1856 GMT


Claiming that its forecasts were "unreasonably low" and its analysis "flawed," a coalition of nearly 100 renewable energy and environmental groups and businesses are pushing the US Energy Information Administration to revamp its renewable energy forecasts.

In a letter Tuesday to EIA Administrator Adam Sieminski, the coalition asked for the agency to alter its forecast methodology before the release of its annual energy outlook for 2014, expected in December. EIA officials have been underestimating the role of solar, wind, hydropower and other renewable sources in US electrical generation, which may be negatively influencing policy decisions, the coalition wrote.

"Inasmuch as policy makers in both the public and private sectors rely heavily upon EIA data when making legislative, regulatory, investment, and other decisions, we believe underestimation can have multiple adverse impacts on the renewable energy industry and, more broadly, on the nation's environmental and energy future," the coalition said.

The coalition pointed specifically to the EIA's 2013 outlook that said that renewable energy's share of US electricity generation would climb from 13% in 2011 to 16% in 2040. But the coalition argued this analysis was "flawed" since EIA in August said that renewables made up 14.2% of net generation in the first half of 2013.

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"It seems highly implausible that it will now take another 27 years to grow from 14.2% to 16%," the coalition wrote.

The coalition said the EIA should re-evaluate the methodology it uses for these estimates or "at the least, provide projections that more closely reflect the real-world growth rates of recent years."

The letter was signed by officials with the Center for Biological Diversity, World Wildlife Fund, Sustainable Energy and Economic Development Coalition, Natural Resources Defense Council and dozens of others.

An EIA spokesman did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

--Brian Scheid, brian.scheid@platts.com
--Edited by Katharine Fraser, katharine.fraser@platts.com

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