Biomass Power’s Slice of Pie Continues to Grow
In last week’s Maps and Data Blog, we looked at historical data to understand the trends and trajectories of the bioenergy industry for the coming year. In this week’s blog, we’ll stay in the same vein and bring focus to the biomass power industry. In the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission’s (FERC) recent release of the Energy Infrastructure Update for December, biomass power stood out with 543 MW of added generation capacity to the grid during 2012. Since 2009, the annual increase in new generating capacity from biomass sources has been 18.4% through 2012 (See graph below). In 2012, the industry added two times as much capacity as it added in 2009. This growth in biomass power generating capacity is also evident in changes to the country’s overall energy portfolio over this same period. Biomass power accounted for 1.17% of the U.S.’s overall generating capacity in 2010. Only two years later, biomass accounted for 1.30% of our nation's capacity. When slicing up the 1.26 terawatt (TW) pie of total generating capacity in the U.S., an increase of 0.13% to the biomass power sector is not insignificant. In 2012, two of the largest biomass power projects that came online were Rollcast’s 60.5 MW Piedmont Green Power plant in Barnesville, GA and Southern Power’s 100 MW Nacogdoches plant in Sacul, TX. With numerous biomass power plants currently under construction and slated to come on line in 2013, further growth in the biomass power sector is expected.