Analyzing Energy Outlooks: Focusing on North America and the United States of America
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There are broad ranges of organizations that produce energy forecasts for different purposes. The U.S. Department of Energy produces an International Energy Outlook through their Energy Information Administration (EIA), whose objective is to provide facts for public policy decisions. The International Energy Agency (IEA) produces a World Energy Outlook to ensure their members maintain energy security and have research to achieve clean, cheap and affordable energy sources. Furthermore, various public companies produce outlooks, such as BP and ExxonMobil, which both do so in an effort to promote discussion around energy issues. Assumptions made about policy, technology, economic development, and demographics strongly affect the different models used in each survey. The objectives of analyzing these outlooks together are to determine how and where they differ, and to explain these differences quantitatively and qualitatively. The most influencing factor, for all the energy types, was the scenario assumption, namely policy and technology assumptions. Projections that differ the most, or were most similar, can be generally explained by understanding the policy and technology assumptions behind each survey. The EIA provides projections for consumption in production for the status quo, in regards to policy and technology innovation. The IEA used policies that were announced and implements them cautiously. They also take into account foreseeable technology advances. BP and ExxonMobil incorporate the most likely or most practical policy and technology advances in their projections. Evaluating the differences and the goals of each forecast will allow for a non-biased, well-rounded understanding and discussion of energy projections from these different organizations. Each organization believes it is important to continue the discussion of energy markets world-wide. Each outlook has differences that impede discussion, thus this study suggests a standardization of energy forecasts in order to not only enable discussion, but also truly expand discussion from not just people in the know, but to the common folk.
DepartmentNicholas School of the Environment and Earth Sciences
EIA International Energy Outlook
IEA World Energy Outlook
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