Biomass Power Growth Over the Years

By Anna Simet | July 19, 2013

The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission‘s Office of Energy Projects has released another update for 2013, and it indicates that new renewables outpaced new coal, oil and nuclear in the first six months of 2013.

Outpaced all three of those combined, that is.

From a broad perspective, renewables accounted for just under 25 percent of new electrical generating capacity installed from January through June. That seems encouraging, so I decided to look back on last year’s results and see how growth compares.

According to FERC’s 2012 report, renewables accounted for 49.10 percent of new electric capacity during the entire year (up from 39.33 percent of all new in-service generation capacity in 2011).

So while it seems we’re on about the same pace in 2013, I think it’s safe to say more projects are typically completed and put into service during the second half of the year, so there’s a good chance we’re poised to exceed 2012 numbers.

For biomass specifically, 100 new biomass units (543 MW) came online during 2012. So far in 2013, we’re at 36, totaling 116 MW.







36 (Jan.-June)


24.93 (Jan-June)










While it seems we're far away from 2012 numbers, I was checking over our most recent Biomass Construction Update, and there are a number of biomass power projects slated to come on line the second half of this year—Burgess Biopower in Berlin, N.H. will add 75 MW when it starts up during the last quarter, Abengoa Bioenergy in Hugton, Kan., will add 21 MW when on line in December, NPI USA in Port Angeles, Wash., will add 20 MW when completed in September., and WE Energies’ Rothschild, Wis., plant will add 50 MW in August.

Those are just a few of many projects in the works that we are tracking—those four alone total about 160 MW.

Even with all of the regulatory uncertainty we’ve seen over the last couple of years, biomass power capacity has continued to grow. As the Tailoring Rule evolves over the near year, it will be very interesting to check out how and if development is affected.

You can be sure we’ll keep you in the loop.