EIA updates bioenergy generation, capacity forecasts

By Erin Voegele | August 14, 2019

The U.S. Energy Information Administration currently expects nonhydro renewables to provide 10 percent of U.S. utility-scale generation in 2019, increasing to 12 percent in 2020, according to the agency’s latest Short Term Energy Outlook, released Aug. 6.

Biomass is expected to be used to generate 26.8 billion kilowatt hours (kWh) of electricity this year, increasing to 26.9 billion kWh in 2020.

In the electric power sector, generation from waste biomass is expected to reach 16.4 billion kWh in both 2019 and 2020. Wood biomass generation is expected to increase from 10.4 billion kWh in 2019 to 10.5 billion kWh in 2020.

Across other sectors, waste biomass generation is expected to reach 3.1 billion kWh in 2019, increasing to 3.2 billion kWh in 2020. Generation from wood biomass is expected remain at 27.4 billion kWh in both years.

The electric power sector is expected to consume 0.253 quadrillion Btu (quad) of waste biomass this year, falling to 0.252 quad next year. The sector is also expected to consume 0.172 quad of wood biomass in 2019, increasing to 0.174 quad in 2020.

The industrial sector is expected to consume 0.167 quad of waste biomass this year, falling to 0.166 quad next year. Consumption of wood biomass is expected to reach 1.449 quad this year, falling to 1.389 quad in 2020.

The commercial sector is expected to consume 0.043 quad of waste biomass in both 2019 and 2020, along with 0.084 quad of wood biomass in 2019, increasing to 0.85 quad in 2020.

The residential sector is expected to consume 0.523 quad of wood biomass in both 2019 and 2020.

Across all sectors, waste biomass consumption is expected to reach 0.462 quad this year, falling slightly to 0.461 quad next year. Wood biomass consumption is also expected to fall, from 2.225 quad in 2019 to 2.17 quad in 2020.

In the electric power sector, biomass capacity is expected to reach 6,966 megawatts (MW) by the end of this year, including 4,120 MW of waste biomass capacity and 2,847 MW of wood biomass capacity. By the end of 2020, total biomass capacity in the sector is expected to fall to 6,944 MW, including 4,055 MW of waste biomass capacity and 2,889 MW of wood biomass capacity.

Biomass generating capacity across other sectors is expected to reach 6,537 MW by the end of this year, including 862 MW of waste biomass capacity and 5,675 MW of wood biomass capacity. Biomass capacity is expected to increase to 6,567 MW by the end of 2020, including 862 MW of waste biomass capacity and 5,705 MW of wood biomass capacity.