EIA updates bioenergy production, capacity forecasts

By Erin Voegele | May 10, 2022

Renewables are currently expected to account for 22 percent of U.S. electricity generation this year and 23 percent in 2023, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration’s latest Short-Term Energy Outlook, released May 10. Renewables accounted for 20 percent of U.S. electricity production last year.

The electric power sector is expected to generate 26.2 billion kilowatt hours (kWh) of electricity from biomass this year, including 15 billion kWh from waste biomass and 11.3 billion kWh from wood biomass. Biomass generation is expected to fall to 26.1 billion kWh in 2023, including 14.9 billion kWh from waste biomass and 11.2 billion kWh from wood biomass. The sector generated 27.9 billion kWh from biomass last year, including 15.5 billion kWh from waste biomass and 12.4 billion kWh from wood biomass.

Across other sectors, biomass was used to generate 27.6 billion kWh of electricity last year, including 2.8 billion kWh from waste biomass and 24.8 billion kWh from wood biomass. Biomass generation is expected to be at 27.5 billion kWh this year, including 2.8 billion kWh from waste biomass and 24.7 billion kWh from wood biomass. Those levels of generation are expected to be maintained through 2023.

The electric power sector is expected to consume 0.23 quadrillion Btu (quad) for waste biomass this year, falling to 0.229 quad next year, compared to 0.236 quad consumed in 2021. The sector also consumed 0.199 quad of wood biomass last year, with consumption expected to fall to 0.184 quad in 2022 and 0.183 quad in 2023.

The industrial sector is expected to consume 0.161 quad of waste biomass in both 2022 and 2023, up from 0.16 quad in 2021. The sector also consumed 1.342 quad of wood biomass last year, with consumption expected to be at 1.381 quad this year and 1.422 quad next year.

The commercial sector consumed 0.035 quad of wood biomass last year, with consumption expected to be at 0.036 quad in 2022 and 2023. The sector is also expected to consume 0.083 quad of wood biomass this year and next year, flat with 2021.

The residential sector consumed 0.464 quad of wood biomass last year. Consumption is expected to increase to 0.465 quad this year and be maintained at that level through 2023.

Across all sectors, waste biomass consumption was at 0.431 quad in 2021, and is expected to fall to 0.427 quad this year and 0.426 quad next year. Wood biomass consumption was at 2.087 quad in 2021 and is expected to increase to 2.113 quad in 2022 and 2.153 quad in 2023.

The electric power sector had 5,977 megawatts (MW) of biomass power capacity in place at the end of 2021, including 3,674 MW of waste biomass capacity and 2,303 MW of wood biomass capacity. Biomass capacity is expected to expand to 6,009 MW by the end of 2022, including 3,706 MW of waste biomass capacity and 2,303 MW of wood biomass capacity. Biomass capacity is expected to fall to 5,926 MW by the end of 2023, including 3,623 MW of waste biomass capacity and 2,303 MW of wood biomass capacity.

Across other sectors, biomass capacity was at 6,214 MW at the end of 2021 and is expected to fall to 6,197 MW by the end of 2022 and reach 6,200 MW by the end of 2023. Waste biomass capacity is expected to be at 829 MW in both 2022 and 2023, flat with 2021. Wood biomass capacity was at 5,385 MW in 2021 and is expected to fall to 5,367 MW by the end of this year and expand to 5,371 MW by the end of next year.