EIA updates 2021, 2022 bioenergy forecasts

By Erin Voegele | September 08, 2021

The U.S. Energy Information Administration currently predicts renewables will account for 20 percent of U.S. electricity generation this year, according to the agency’s latest Short Term Energy Outlook, released Sept. 8. Renewables accounted for 20 percent of U.S. electricity generation in 2020 and are expected to account for 22 percent of U.S. electricity generation in 2022.

The electric power sector is expected to generate 33.5 billion kilowatt hours (kWh) of electricity from biomass this year, including 18.7 billion kWh from waste biomass and 14.9 billion kWh from wood biomass. The sector generated 27.5 billion kWh from biomass last year, including 16.1 billion kWh from waste biomass and 11.4 billion kWh from wood biomass. Next year, the sector is expected to generate 33.1 billion kWh from biomass, including 18.4 billion kWh from waste biomass and 14.8 billion kWh from wood biomass.

Across other sectors, biomass generation is expected to be at 27.9 billion kWh this year, including 2.7 billion kWh from waste biomass and 25.3 billion kWh from wood biomass. Those levels of generation are expected to be maintained through 2022. In 2020, biomass generation was at 28.6 billion kWh, including 2.7 billion kWh from waste biomass and 25.8 billion kWh from wood biomass.

The electric power sector is expected to consume 0.276 quadrillion Btu (quad) of waste biomass this year, falling to 0.271 quad in 2022, compared to 0.238 quad in 2020. The sector is also expected to consume 0.242 quad of wood biomass this year, up from 0.185 quad in 2020. Consumption of wood biomass is expected to decline slightly to 0.241 quad in 2020.

The industrial sector is expected to consume 0.158 quad of waste biomass this year, falling to 0.157 quad in 2022. Consumption was at 0.156 quad in 2020. The sector is also expected to consume 1.394 quad of wood biomass in 2021, up from 1.376 quad last year, with consumption expected to increase to 1.416 quad next year.

The commercial sector is expected to consume 0.035 quad of waste biomass and 0.082 quad of wood biomass in both 2021 and 2022, down from 0.036 quad and 0.083 quad, respectively, in 2020.

The residential sector is expected to consume 0.455 quad of wood biomass in both 2021 and 2022, down from 0.458 quad last year.

Across all sectors, the consumption of waste biomass is expected to reach 0.469 quad this year, falling to 0.463 quad in 2022, compared to 0.43 quad in 2020. Wood biomass consumption is expected to be at 2.173 quad in 2021, increasing to 2.195 quad in 2022. Wood biomass consumption was at 2.101 quad in 2020.

In the electric power sector, total biomass generating capacity is expected to be at 6,439 megawatts (MW) by the end of 2021, including 3,885 MW of waste biomass capacity and 2,554 MW of wood biomass capacity. Total biomass capacity is expected to increase to 6,444 MW by the end of 2022, including 3,890 MW of waste biomass capacity and 2,554 MW of wood biomass capacity. In 2020, the sector had 5,549 MW of biomass capacity in place, including 3,851 MW of waste biomass capacity and 2,697 MW of wood biomass capacity.

Across other sectors, total biomass capacity is expected to be at 6,405 MW at the end of 2021, including 790 MW of waste biomass capacity and 5,615 MW of wood biomass capacity. Total biomass capacity is expected to fall to 6,397 MW by the end of next year, including 790 MW of waste biomass capacity and 5,607 MW of wood biomass capacity. Biomass capacity was at 6,438 MW at the end of 2020, including 789 MW of waste biomass capacity and 5,649 MW of wood biomass capacity.