EIA predicts increase in biomass power capacity

By Erin Voegele | March 12, 2020

The U.S. Energy Information Administration predicts 19 percent of U.S. electricity will be generated from renewable sources this year, up from 17 percent last year, according to the agency’s latest Short-Term Energy Outlook, released March 11. Renewables are expected to account for 21 percent of U.S. electricity generation in 2021.

The U.S. electric power sector is expected to generate 27 billion kilowatt hours (kWh) of electricity from biomass sources this year, including 15.5 billion kWh from waste biomass and 11.6 billion kWh of from wood biomass. Total biomass generation is expected to increase to 28.2 billion kWh next year, including 15.7 billion kWh from waste biomass and 12.5 billion kWh from wood biomass.

Across other sectors, biomass is expected to be used to generate 29.7 billion kWh this year, including 2.8 billion kWh from waste biomass and 26.9 billion kWh from wood biomass. Generation is expected to be relatively flat in 2021.

The electric power sector is expected to consume 0.232 quadrillion Btu (quad) of waste biomass this year, increasing to 0.236 quad next year. The sector’s consumption of wood biomass is also expected to increase, from 0.187 quad in 2020 to 0.203 quad in 2021.

The industrial sector is expected to consume 01.6 quad of waste biomass in both 2020 and 2021. Consumption of wood biomass, however, expected to fall, from 1.399 quad in 2020 to 1.379 quad in 2021.

The commercial sector is expected to consume 0.036 quad of waste biomass and 0.084 quad of wood biomass this year. Those levels of consumption are expected to continue through 2021.

The residential sector is expected to consume 0.528 quad of wood biomass in both 2020 and 2021.

Across all sectors, the consumption of waste biomass is expected to be at 0.428 quad this year, increasing to 04.32 quad in 2021. Consumption of wood biomass, however, is expected to fall, from 2.199 quad in 2020 to 2.193 quad in 2021.

Total biomass capacity in the electric power sector is expected to be at 6,867 megawatts (MW) this year, including 4,071 MW of waste biomass capacity and 2,795 MW of wood biomass capacity. Capacity is expected to increase to 6,886 MW in 2021, including 4,090 MW of waste biomass capacity and 2,795 MW of wood biomass capacity.

Across other sectors, total biomass capacity is expected to reach 6,565 MW this year, including 863 MW of waste biomass capacity and 5,702 MW of wood biomass capacity. Capacity is expected to increase to 6,569 MW in 2021, including 874 MW of waste biomass capacity and 5,694 MW of wood biomass capacity.