EIA updates short-term bioenergy forecasts

By Erin Voegele | May 12, 2016

The U.S. Energy Information Administration recently released the May edition of its Short-Term Energy Outlook, predicting total renewables used in the electric power sector will increase by 11.3 percent in 2016 and 4.4 percent in 2017. Generation from non-hydropower renewables is expected to grow by 13.3 percent in 2016 and 8.6 percent in 2017.

Electricity generation from wood biomass is expected to reach 114,000 MWh per day this year, increasing to 117,000 MWh per day next year. Generation from waste biomass is expected to fall, from 60,000 MWh per day this year to 59,000 MWh per day next year.

The electric power sector is expected to consume 0.254 quadrillion Btu (quad) of wood biomass this year, increasing to 0.265 quad next year. Consumption of waste biomass is expected to be 0.276 quad this year, falling to 0.273 quad next year.

The industrial sector is expected to consume 1.25 quad of wood biomass this year, falling to 1.239 quad next year. Consumption of waste biomass, however, is expected to increase, from 0.191 quad this year to 0.193 quad next year.

The commercial sector is expected to consume 0.077 quad of wood biomass this year, increasing to 0.078 quad next year. The sector is also expected to consume 0.044 quad of waste biomass both this year and next year.

The residential sector is expected to consume 0.415 quad of wood biomass this year, increasing to 0.426 quad next year.

The EIA’s most recent Electric Power Monthly report, published in late April, states 180.5 MW of new utility-scale bioenergy capacity was placed into service in February, including 163.8 MW of wood/wood waste biomass, 7 MW of landfill gas, and 9.7 MW from other sources of waste biomass. During the same month, 338.3 MW of bioenergy capacity reductions were reported. As of the end of February, the report notes the U.S. has 13,621.1 MW of total in-service biomass capacity.

According to the EIA’s Electric Power Monthly report, 142 MW of biomass capacity is currently expected to be added over the next 12 months, including 62.5 MW from wood/waste wood, 56.9 MW from landfill gas, and 22.6 MW from other forms of waste biomass.