FERC: US added 20 MW of biomass capacity in April

By Erin Voegele | May 22, 2014

The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission has published its Energy Infrastructure Update for April, reporting that five new biomass units with a combined capacity of 10 MW came online last month.

According to the report, 12 new biomass units with a combined capacity of 20 MW have come online since the beginning of the year. In 2013, 35 units with a combined capacity of 112 MW came online during the first four months of year.

The report shows that reduced capacity growth is not limited to biomass capacity. During the first four months of the year, capacity additions for 11 of the 12 technology types tracked the report were less than or equal to capacity additions made during the same period last year. The sole exception was geothermal steam, which added 32 MW of capacity so far this year, compared to only 14 MW last year.

In April, the only renewable technology to add more capacity than biomass was solar, with 52 MW of combined capacity. No coal, nuclear, oil, water, wind, or waste heat capacity was added during the month. However, three natural gas units with a combined 1,298 MW of capacity were brought online.

As of the close of April, the report estimates that the U.S. is home to 15.88 GW of installed biomass capacity, equating to approximately 1.37 percent of total U.S. capacity. Of the non-hydro renewable technologies, only wind has more installed capacity in the U.S.

Within the report, the FERC highlighted a landfill gas-to-energy project that came online in April. The Bannock County Public Works Department’s 1.4 MW landfill gas-fired Fort Hall Mine Landfill project in Bannock County, Idaho, is now online. The project sells power to the Idaho Power Co. under a long-term contract.