EIA updates bioenergy production, capacity forecasts

By Erin Voegele | December 08, 2022

Renewables are expected to account for 22 percent of U.S. electricity generation in 2022, increasing to 24 percent in 2023, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration’s latest Short-Term Energy Outlook, released Dec. 6. Renewables accounted for 20 percent of electricity generation in 2021.

The electric power sector generated 26.7 billion kilowatt hours (kWh) of electricity from biomass last year, including 14.8 billion kWh from waste biomass and 11.9 billion kWh from wood biomass. Biomass generation is expected to fall to 26.4 billion kWh this year, including 14.2 billion kWh from waste biomass and 12.2 billion kWh from wood biomass. Biomass generation is expected to fall to 25.5 billion kWh in 2023, with waste biomass generation maintained at 14.2 billion kWh and wood biomass generation falling to 11.3 billion kWh.

Across other sectors, biomass generation was at 27.5 billion kWh last year, including 3 billion kWh from waste biomass and 24.6 billion kWh from wood biomass. Biomass generation is expected to fall to 27.2 billion kWh in 2022, including 2.9 billion kWh from waste biomass and 24.3 billion kWh from wood biomass. The 2022 levels of generation are expected to be maintained through 2023.

The electric power sector is currently expected to consume 0.215 quadrillion Btu (quad) of waste biomass this year, falling to 0.214 quad in 2023. Consumption was at 0.229 quad in 2021. The sector is also expected to consume 0.196 quad of wood biomass this year and 0.18 quad next year, compared to 0.197 quad in 2021.

The industrial sector consumed 0.16 quad of waste biomass last year. Consumption is expected to increase to 0.161 quad this year before falling to 0.158 quad in 2023. The sector also consumed 1.342 quad of wood biomass in 2021, with consumption expected to fall to 1.296 quad in 2022 and rebound to 0.138 quad in 2023.

The commercial sector is expected to consume 0.038 quad of waste biomass in 2022, falling to 0.037 quad in 2023. Consumption was at 0.035 quad in 2021. The sector also consumed 0.083 quad of wood biomass in 2021. That level of consumption is expected to be maintained through 2022 and 2023.

The residential sector consumed 0.464 quad of wood biomass last year. Consumption is expected to increase to 0.477 quad this year and be maintained at that level through 2023.

Across all sectors, waste biomass consumption was at 0.431 quad last year. Consumption is expected to fall to 0.416 quad in 2022 and 0.408 quad in 2023. Wood biomass consumption was at 2.085 quad in 2021 and is expected to fall to 2.052 quad in 2022 and 2.12 quad in 2023.

The electric power sector is expected to have 5,994 megawatts (MW) of biomass power in place by the end of this year, including 3,560 MW of waste biomass capacity and 2,435 MW of wood biomass capacity. Biomass capacity is expected to expand to 6,009 MW by the end of next year, including 3,590 MW of waste biomass capacity and 2,419 MW of wood biomass capacity. Biomass capacity was at 6,087 MW at the end of 2021, including 3,652 MW of waste biomass capacity and 2,435 MW of wood biomass capacity.

Across other sectors, biomass capacity was at 6,306 MW at the end of 2021, including 817 MW of waste biomass capacity and 5,489 MW of wood biomass capacity. Total biomass capacity is expected to increase to 3,339 MW by the end 2022, with waste biomass capacity maintained at 817 MW and wood biomass capacity increasing to 5,522 MW. By the end of 2023, biomass capacity is expected to be at 6,330 MW, including 817 MW of waste biomass capacity and 5,513 MW of wood biomass capacity.