EIA increases short-term forecast for power production from wood

By Erin Voegele | February 10, 2016

The U.S. Energy Information Administration has released the February edition of its Short-Term Energy Outlook, predicting total renewables used in the electric power sector will increase by 8.1 percent this year.

When compared to the January STEO, the EIA has increased its prediction for 2016 renewable energy consumption for wood biomass by 0.2 percent. The administration now predicts woody biomass energy consumption will reach 1.976 quadrillion Btu (quad) this year, up from the 1.972 quad prediction made last month. Moving into 2017, the EIA has revised its prediction up 0.1 percent to 1.997 quad. The EIA now predicts a 1.1 percent growth rate for woody biomass consumption.

Regarding electricity generation capacity from wood biomass, the EIA has increased its predictions for both 2016 and 2017 by 2.1 percent. The administration currently predicts wood biomass capacity will reach 3,065 MW this year and 3,107 MW next year. The expected growth rate for 2015-’16 has increased to 0.8 percent, with the 2016-’17 growth rate prediction maintained at 1.4 percent.

Across all sectors, wood biomass is expected to be used to generate 115,000 MWh per day of energy this year, increasing to 118,000 MWh per day next year. Waste biomass is expected to generate 60,000 MWh per day this year, dropping to 59,000 MWh per day next year.

The electric power sector is currently expected to consume 0.249 quad of wood biomass this year, increasing to 0.258 quad next year. The sector is also expected to consume 0.272 quad of waste biomass this year, falling to 0.271 quad next year.

The industrial sector is expected to consume 1.233 quad of wood biomass in 2016, increasing to 1.235 quad in 2016. The sector is also expected to consume 0.195 quad of waste biomass this year, increasing to 0.198 next year.

The commercial sector is expected to consume 0.076 quad of wood biomass and 0.044 quad of waste biomass this year, along with 0.078 quad of wood biomass and 0.044 quad of waste biomass next year.

The residential sector is expected to consume 0.418 quad of wood biomass this year, increasing to 0.426 quad next year.

Across all sectors, the U.S. expected to consume 1.976 quad of wood biomass and 0.511 quad of waste biomass this year, increasing to 1.997 quad of wood biomass and 0.512 quad of waste biomass next year.

The STEO also predicts nearly 2.62 million U.S. households will use wood as a primary heating fuel during the 2015-’16 winter, an increase of 1.3 percent. This includes 596,000 households in the Northeast, a 2.6 percent increase; 635,000 households in the Midwest, a 0.8 percent increase; 627,000 households in the South, a 2.4 percent increase; and 757,000 households in the West, a 0.3 percent decrease.