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Comparison of U.S. energy projections over time

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Typical pre-1980 energy consumption forecasts predicted an increase to 150 quads by the late 90’s (almost twice the actual consumption). The actual trajectory of U.S. consumption more closely followed the 1980 Low-Energy Future forecast.

The gap between historical forecasts and actual consumption can be attributed to an underestimation of programs, policies, and innovations supporting the implementation of energy efficiency. The lack of awareness of efficiency and the resulting narrow set of estimates on future consumption leave investors and business leaders with ineffective forecasts about the U.S. energy future.

Sources

Ehrhardt-Martinez, Karen, and Skip Laitner. 2008. The Size of the U.S. Energy Efficiency Market: Generating a More Complete Picture.. ACEEE. link