EIA predicts modest increase for waste biomass power capacity

By Erin Voegele | January 15, 2020

U.S. electricity generation from renewable sources is expected to reach 19 percent in 2020 and 22 percent in 2021, up from 17 percent in 2019, according to the U.S. Energy Information’s latest Short-Term Energy Outlook, released Jan. 14.

Bioenergy capacity in the electric power sector is expected to reach 6,957 megawatts (MW) by the end of 2020, including 4,068 MW of waste biomass capacity and 2,889 MW of wood biomass capacity. Total bioenergy capacity in the sector is expected to grow to 6,976 MW by the end of 2020, including 4,087 MW of waste biomass capacity and 2,889 MW of wood biomass capacity.

Across other sectors, total biomass capacity is expected to reach 6,560 MW by the end of 2020, including 862 MW of waste biomass capacity and 5,698 MW of wood biomass capacity. Biomass capacity is expected to increase to 6,571 MW by the end of 2021, including 873 MW of waste biomass capacity and 5,698 MW of wood biomass capacity.

The electric power sector is expected to generate 26.2 billion kilowatt hours (kWh) of electricity from biomass sources this year, increasing to 26.2 billion kWh in 2021. That includes approximately 15.4 billion kWh from waste biomass and 10.8 kWh from wood biomass in each year.

Across other sectors, biomass is expected to be used to generate 29.9 billion kWh of electricity in both 2020 and 2021, including 2.9 billion kWh from waste biomass and 27 billion kWh from wood biomass.

According to the EIA, the electric power sector is expected to consume 0.231 quadrillion Btu (quad) of waste biomass in both 2021 and 2022. The sector is also expected to consume 0.174 quad of wood biomass this year, increasing to 0.175 quad next year.

The industrial sector is expected to consume 0.158 quad of waste biomass in 2021 and 2021. The sector’s consumption of wood biomass, however, is expected to fall to 1.371 quad in 2021, down from 1.385 quad in 2020.

The commercial sector is expected to consume 0.039 quad of waste biomass and 0.083 quad of wood biomass in both 2020 and 2021.

The residential sector is expected to consume 0.527 quad of wood biomass this year, with consumption staying level through 2021.

Across all sectors, waste biomass consumption is expected to reach 0.428 quad this year and remain at that level in 2021. Wood biomass consumption, however, is expected to reach 2.168 quad this year and fall to 2.156 quad in 2021.