EIA updates 2020, 2021 bioenergy forecasts

By Erin Voegele | September 09, 2020

U.S. electricity generation from renewable energy sources is expected to rise from 17 percent in 2019 to 20 percent in 2020 and 22 percent in 2021, according to data released by the U.S. Energy Information Administration in latest Short-Term Energy Outlook on Sept. 9.

The electric power sector is expected to generate 28.1 billion kilowatt hours (kWh) of electricity from biomass this year, including 15.7 billion kWh  from waste biomass and 12.4 billion kWh from wood biomass. The sector’s generation from biomass is expected to increase to 30.6 billion kWh in 2021, including 16.3 billion kWh from waste biomass and 14.3 billion kWh from wood biomass. Biomass generation in 2019 was at 28.8 billion kWh, including 15.7 billion kWh from waste biomass and 13 billion kWh from wood biomass.

Across other sectors, generation from biomass is expected to reach 29.4 billion kWh this year, down from 29.7 billion kWh in 2019, and falling to 29.3 billion kWh in 2021. Generation from waste biomass is expected to hold steady at its 2019 level of 2.8 billion kWh in 2020 and 2021, while generation from wood biomass is expected to fall from its 2019 level of 26.8 billion kWh to 26.6 billion kWh in 2020 and 26.5 billion kWh in 2021.

The electric power sector is expected to consume 0.235 quadrillion Btu (quad) of waste biomass this year, down from 0.236 quad in 2019. In 2021, the sector’s consumption of waste biomass is expected to reach 0.243 quad. The electric power sector is also expected to consume 0.202 quad of wood biomass this year, down from 02.11 quad in 2019, and increasing to 0.232 quad in 2021.

The industrial sector is expected to consume 0.165 quad of waste biomass this year, falling to 0.164 quad next year. The sector consumed 0.16 quad of waste biomass in 2019. The industrial sector is also expected to consume 1.371 quad of wood biomass this year, increasing to 1.389 quad next year. In 2019, the sector consumed 1.473 quad of wood biomass.

The commercial sector consumed 0.036 quad of waste biomass last year. Consumption is expected to fall to 0.035 quad this year and next year. The sector is also expected to consume 0.085 quad of wood biomass in 2020 and 2021, up from 0.084 quad in 2019.

The residential sector is expected to consume 0.517 quad of wood biomass in 2020 and 2021, down from 0.529 quad in 2109.

Across all sectors, waste biomass consumption was at 0.433 quad last year. Consumption of waste biomass is expected to increase to 0.435 quad this year and 0.442 quad in 2021. Wood biomass consumption across all sectors was at 2.297 quad in 2019. Consumption of wood biomass is expected to fall to 2.175 quad this year and increase to 2.223 quad next year.

Biomass generating capacity in the electric power sector is expected to be at 6,628 megawatts (MW) at the end of 2020, including 3,902 MW of waste biomass capacity and 2,727 MW of wood biomass capacity. Capacity at the end of 2019 was at 6,672 MW, including 3,945 MW of waste biomass capacity and 2,727 MW of wood biomass capacity. By the end of 2021, biomass generating capacity in the electric power sector is expected to increase to 6,638 MW, including 3,912 MW of waste biomass capacity and 2,727 MW of wood biomass capacity.

Across other sectors, biomass power capacity was at 6,424 MW at the end of 2019, including 786 MW of waste biomass capacity and 5,626 MW of wood biomass capacity. Capacity is expected to increase to 6,428 MW by the end of 2020, including 802 MW of waste biomass capacity and 5,626 MW of wood biomass capacity. Those capacity levels are expected to be maintained through 2021.