BNEF publishes Sustainable Energy in America Factbook

By Erin Voegele | February 12, 2015

Bloomberg New Energy Finance recently released the 2015 edition of its Sustainable Energy in America Factbook. The report includes information on biomass, biogas, waste-to-energy, and a variety of other renewable energy technologies.

According to the report, there was a spike in biomass power installations in 2013, with 521 MW of capacity added. The increase is attributed primarily to policy support measures, specifically the production and investment tax credits. Capacity growth fell to 30 MW last year, with cumulative capacity reaching 8.4 GW by the end of the year.

BNEF reports asset finance for new-build biomass was less than $50 million last year, and just over $100 million for biogas. The low level of biomass asset finance is attributed to the expiration of the production tax credit. In 2011, asset finance for biomass was $1.42 billion.

Within the report, BNEF indicates that waste-to-energy and biogas are generally smaller sectors with fewer deals. Asset finance for waste-to-energy was $275 million in 2012. During the same year, asset finance for biogas was $166 million.

According to BNEF, biomass feedstock prices in 2014 were roughly even with 2013 levels. In the southeast, prices were $41 per dry ton last year, with prices in the Northwest and Northeast averaging $25 and $32 per dry ton, respectively. The report also notes that investment cost for waste-to-energy, anaerobic digestion and landfill gas decreased slightly last year.

The report highlights small-scale biogas projects, noting the number of small anaerobic digester projects at agricultural facilities has grown since 2008. In each of the years 2008 through 2013, there were between 20 and 36 new operational projects. The report estimates there are currently 243 operational anaerobic digester projects at farms in the U.S, with an average size of 707 kW. Of the total, 169 are smaller than 1 MW, representing 59 MW in capacity.

According to BNEF, the U.S. has approximately 83 GW of combined-heat-and-power (CHP) capacity in place, with 12 percent of that fueled by biomass and waste.

A full copy of the factbook can be downloaded from the BNEF website.