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Global Energy Outlooks Comparison Methods

Global Energy Outlooks Comparison Methods

Full Title: Global Energy Outlooks Comparison Methods
Author(s): Richard G. Newell, Stuart Iler, and Daniel Raimi
Publisher(s): Resources for the Future
Publication Date: April 1, 2018
Full Text: Download Resource
Description (excerpt):

We update a harmonization methodology previously developed in 2015 to facilitate comparisons
of long-term global energy projections issued by the International Energy Agency, US Energy
Information Administration, ExxonMobil, BP, and the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting
Countries. We continue to find important differences across outlooks in primary energy units used,
assumed energy content of fossil fuels, assumed efficiency of nuclear and renewable electricity
conversion from primary energy, categorization of biofuels, and inclusion (or exclusion) of traditional
biomass. For example, the US EIA and BP’s exclusion of non-marketed traditional biomass yields
estimates of global primary energy consumption that are 8 to 13 percent lower than the IEA, ExxonMobil
and OPEC, which include these sources. Assumptions about energy content of fossil fuels can vary by
more than 10 percent in the data examined here, requiring significant downward adjustment of primary
energy consumption estimates for oil and natural gas to make BP and US EIA data comparable to IEA,
OPEC, and ExxonMobil. Conventions about primary energy conversion of renewables can alter estimates
for these sources, ranging from a 65 percent decrease to a 280 percent increase for particular electricity
sources. We also find that there are significant differences in historical data used in these outlooks, even
when measured in fuel-specific physical units such as barrels, cubic meters, or tonnes. After taking into
account these differences, our harmonization methodology brings estimates within 1.5 percent or less of
one another for most fuels in the benchmark year of 2015. We highlight important sources of divergence
where organizations producing outlooks may find opportunities to align assumptions and improve
datacomparability. Enhancing the comparability of outlooks will improve the quality of the dialogue
among stakeholders to the benefit of energy decisionmaking worldwide.

All statements and/or propositions in discussion prompts are meant exclusively to stimulate discussion and do not represent the views of, its Partners, Topic Directors or Experts, nor of any individual or organization. Comments by and opinions of Expert participants are their own.

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