EIA: Bioenergy capacity continues to increase

By Erin Voegele | September 26, 2014

The U.S. Energy Information Administration has released the September issue of its Electric Power Monthly report, indicating total in-service bioenergy capacity equaled 13,431.4 MW as of the close of July, up from 13,368.4 MW at the close of June. Overall, 313 MW of new bioenergy capacity was added in July, with 250 MW of bioenergy capacity reductions.

According to the EIA, wood and waste wood biomass capacity increased from 8,215.3 MW to 8,329.8 MW. Overall landfill gas capacity decreased slightly, from 2,046.4 MW to 2,044.2 MW. Municipal solid waste (MSW) capacity decreased slightly from 2,230.7 MW to 2,244.0 MW. Capacity from other sources of waste biomass also decreased, from 876.0 MW to 833.4 MW.

Over the next 12 months, EIA data shows 229.3 MW of planned bioenergy capacity additions. This includes 73 MW of wood and waste wood biomass capacity, 33.5 MW of landfill gas capacity, 88 MW of MSW capacity, and 34.8 MW of capacity from other waste biomass sources.

Wood and wood derived fuels were used to generate 3.79 million MWh of electricity across all sectors in July, up 7.4 percent from the previous year. Other biomass was used to generate 1.74 million MWh of power, down 0.7 percent from the same period of 2013.

In the electric power sector, electric utilities used wood and wood-derived fuels to generate 238,000 MWh of power in July, up from 207,000 MWh during the same period of 2013. Independent power producers used the fuels to generate 1.05 million MWh of power, up from 887,000 MWh during the same period of last year. Electric utilities used other forms of biomass to generate 129,000 MWh of electricity in July, up from 124,000 MWh the previous year. Independent power producers used the same type of fuel to generate 1.3 million MWh of power in July, down from 1.33 million MWh the previous year.

The commercial sector used wood and wood-derived fuels to generate 8,000 MWh of electricity in July. The sector used other forms of biomass to produce 226,000 MWh of power during the same month, up from 213,000 MWh during the prior year.

The industrial sector used wood and waste-wood derived fuels to generate 2.5 million MWh of electricity in July, up slightly from 2.43 million MWh in the same month of the previous year. Other forms of biomass were used by the sector to generate 84,000 MWh of electricity, down from 88,000 MWh during the same period of the previous year.