EIA updates bioenergy forecasts in September outlook

By Erin Voegele | September 11, 2018

The U.S. Energy Information Administration has released the September edition of its Short-Term Energy Outlook, predicting that nonhydropower renewables will provide more than 10 percent of electricity generation this year, up slightly from last year. In 2019, nonhydropower renewables are expected to provide nearly 11 percent of electricity generation.

Wood biomass is expected to be used to generate 119,000 MWh per day of electricity this year, increasing to 120,000 MWh next year. Waste biomass is expected to be used to generate 58,000 MWh of electricity in both 2017 and 2018.

The electric power sector is expected to generate 89,000 MWh per day from biomass this year, increasing to 91,000 MWh per day next year. This includes 48,000 MWh per day from waste biomass and 49,000 MWh per day from wood biomass in 2018, increasing to 49,000 MWh per day from waste biomass and 42,000 MWh per day from wood biomass in 2019.

Across other sectors, biomass is expected to be used to generate 87,000 MWh per day in both 2018 and 2019. This includes 78,000 MWh per day from waste biomass and 9,000 MWh per day from wood biomass.

The electric power sector is expected to consume 0.279 quadrillion Btu (quad) of waste biomass this year, increasing to 0.281 quad next year. The sector is also expected to consume 0.242 quad of wood biomass this year, increasing to 0.247 quad next year.

The industrial sector is expected to consume 0.17 quad of waste biomass in 2018, falling to 0.167 quad in 2018. The sector is also expected to consume 1.464 quad of wood biomass this year, falling to 1.418 quad next year.

The commercial sector is expected to consume 0.045 quad of waste biomass and 0.084 quad of wood biomass in both 2017 and 2018.

The residential sector is currently forecast to consume 0.401 quad of wood biomass this year, increasing to 0.42 quad next year.

Across all sectors, consumption of waste biomass is expected to reach 0.493 quad this year, increasing slightly to 0.494 quad next year. The consumption of wood biomass, however, is expected to fall, from 2.192 quad in 2018 to 2.169 quad in 2019.

By the end of 2018, the electric power sector is expected to have 7,237 MW of biomass capacity in place, down from 7,313 MW in 2017. That 7,237 MW of capacity includes 4,195 MW of waste capacity, and 3,042 MW of wood capacity. By the end of 2019, biomass capacity in the sector is expected to grow, reaching 7,394 MW, including 4,193 Mw of waste capacity and 3,201 MW of wood capacity.

Across other sectors, biomass capacity is expected to reach 6,625 MW by the end of this year, including 872 MW of waste capacity and 5,753 MW of wood capacity. Approximately 6,657 MW of biomass capacity was in place as of the end of 2017. By the end of 2019, biomass capacity is expected to fall slightly, reaching 6,616 MW, including 888 MW of waste capacity and 5,728 MW of wood capacity.